Random Film of the Week: Topkapi

Topkapi_DVDHaving had items stolen from me in the past, I’m not at all a fan of thievery as a *proper* lifestyle choice (grrr!). That said, it’s hard to pass up a good (fake) crime caper and Jules Dassin’s  wonderful, amusing 1964 film Topkapi has been a favorite of mine for decades ever since I saw it as a kid. There’s just something magical about Dassin’s work here. It was his first color film and boy, does he blow the doors out right from the near seizure-inducing start (you’ll probably wince/squint a few times with all those color filters and such coming at you full tilt), and it’s also a film that gets you grinning from start to finish.

It’s more or less the flip the switch to comic tone version of Dassin’s bleak but brilliant 1955 film Rififi with a more varied cast and an even better lengthy heist scene. It’s also a film that’s since inspired a few directors to steal liberally from it (to varied effects), but that’s another discussion for another day. Here, you get Melina Mercouri, smoky voice and all as the lovely Elizabeth Lipp, who has the grand idea to steal a jeweled dagger from Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. She seeks out an ex-lover (Maximilian Schell) who just so happens to be a thief of some renown and the pair plan out their caper with the intent to use nothing but amateurs unknown to any authorities who come sniffing around after the crime has been committed.

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Random Films of the Week: Some Unconventional Holiday Movies? Sure, Why Not?

Topkapi_steal bigSo, I was sitting around with a few friends a few weeks back talking about movies and such when the subject of Christmas and holiday-themed movies came up and yes, everyone agreed that It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story and a few other classics were all going to be watched at some point during the Season of Greetings. Interestingly enough, a few very unconventional titles got mentioned during this conversation to the point that I decided to toss a few of these films at you in a post and see what you think.

For some strange (well, not so strange) reasons, there are a lot of very non-holiday films on some people’s Holiday viewing schedules with most set during the winter or with cold weather as a big part of their plots (but not always). Anyway, as I see you’re wearing those dodgy jammies and overly fuzzy slippers you got yesterday as gifts and have that cup of “eggnog “at the ready, let’s get started with three or four for now and pick up some others in a future post…

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