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The Italian Job

“My name is Michael Caine!”

But seriously, the Italian Job is the most famous British heist movie of the 1960s - a fast-paced, flashy romp that focuses on a gang of career criminals who mastermind the biggest international gold robbery in history.

They are led by smooth-talking, resourceful Charlie Croker (Michael Caine), who decides to shun rehabilitation as soon as he gets out of prison to resume his life of crime. He masterminds a robbery known as "The Italian Job", planning the complicated heist of gold bullion in Italy.

Micheal Cane

 

Plot

The original felon behind the robbery, Roger Beckermann, has been murdered by the Mafia. His friend Croker takes over, after talking to Beckermann's widow, but it soon becomes apparent it's a big undertaking for someone of Croker's stature, as his predecessor was richer and more established.

When Croker realises it's too big a heist for him to manage single-handedly, he breaks INTO prison to meet powerful crime lord Mr Bridger! Croker wants Bridger (Noel Coward) to finance the plan. Initially, the crime lord, who rules the roost at the prison by bribing all the guards, says no.

However, Croker manages to change his mind and uses the money to recruit the rest of the gang, including a team of drivers to carry out the daring getaway. The plan is to steal $4 million gold bullion in Turin and escape over the border to Switzerland, while the gang battles not only the Italian police, but also the Mafia.

The villains have been carefully recruited for their skills, including a computer expert who can hack into Turin's traffic control system, causing chaos and thus enabling the robbers to escape in three Mini Cooper S getaway cars.

 

The getaway

The gang has a getaway plan to avoid the traffic jams and they've chosen the Minis because they're small, fast and nippy enough to race through Turin's shopping arcades! Amazingly, the cars also jump across rooftops and take a pre-planned route across a dam.

The police are thwarted because their cars can't keep pace with the speedy little Minis and the gang seems to have shaken them off and succeeded in their heist. Filming took place in the Italian Alps as the cars pelted down the treacherous mountain roads in convoy.

Word gets back to Mr Bridger in prison in the UK, that the heist has been a success and he receives the adulation and cheers from the other inmates for his role in the robbery.

The final part of the escape sees the gang drive the Minis faultlessly up a ramp, into a moving coach, which is specially customised to accommodate three cars. They unload the gold and push their trusty, seemingly indestructible Minis over the mountainside, so they can't be traced.

 

Last-minute hitch

However, they hit a last-minute hitch when the coach driver, "Big" William (Harry Baird), loses control as they drive down the mountain road at speed. The vehicle spins off the road and is left balancing on the edge of a cliff, while the gold slides down the seatless interior towards the rear doors!

One false move and not only will the gold be lost, but also the gang will lose their lives. Croker attempts to move carefully down the coach, but his weight causes the gold to slide further out of reach as the vehicle teeters on the edge.

It was literally a cliff-hanger at the end - and viewers were left to make up their own mind whether the gang finally escaped with the gold or not!

In 2003, there was a remake of The Italian Job, starring Mark Wahlberg as Croker and Donald Sutherland as Mr Bridger. Despite receiving generally positive reviews, it failed to achieve the cult status of the original, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

While we're not suggesting you take your car on a daring chase through shopping centres and down a cliff, we certainly do suggest that you try Coruba's range of top-quality vehicle rubber matting to help prevent interior wear and tear, whatever type of vehicle you drive.

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