I first saw United Artists/Filmways’ Topkapi with my older siblings on one of our local New York TV stations during my grade school days in the Bronx, where Topkapi’s director/producer Jules Dassin happened to have spent much of his own youth. They liked it, but I must confess that at the time, Topkapi’s inimitable leading lady Melina Mercouri kinda freaked me out! Of course, at the time I didn’t realize Mercouri was an international star. All I knew about her was that she was a blonde lady with dark kohl-rimmed eyes, who spoke in a low, growling voice and had a predatory look. (At the time, Mom had taught me what “predatory” meant, and I was pretty darn proud to have learned how to memorize it right away!) She had a witchy look and a booming laugh that sounded scary to me at the time as she exulted, “That’s the way it can be done!”
But what a difference a decade makes! When I watched Topkapi again in my teens, what I’d thought was witchy was now bewitching. I ended up loving it for Manos Hadjdakis’ zesty music; the colorful locations in Istanbul (not Constantinople), as well as Paris, France at the Boulogne-Billancourt Studios; and of course, its great cast of confident, breezy, likable bon vivants (more about them in a moment)! In fact, the only problem I had with Topkapi in later viewings was that the strobe effect of the rays and blinking lights in the opening credits initially triggered my migraines! Luckily, we figured out how to fine-tune the TV, and the problem was solved. (Reading fellow blogger Vulnavia Morbius’ take on Topkapi in her own excellent Krell Laboratories blog from last year, I see she is apparently lucky enough to have no problems with Topkapi’s opening light effects, lucky gal that she is! But I digress….)
As The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther said in the opening lines of his 1964 Topkapi review, “Imagine Jules Dassin’s Rififi done in the spirit and style of his comical Never on Sunday and you have a good idea of the nature of his latest film, Topkapi (pronounced top-cappy)….” If Dassin’s landmark 1954 thriller Rififi is the dark side of the caper film, then his 1964 follow-up Topkapi was Rififi on the sunnier, funnier, more stylishly playful side of the street with its witty, suspenseful screenplay by Monja Danischewsky (his screenwriting credits include Ealing Studios’ Whisky Galore! and Rockets Galore!, a.k.a. Mad Little Island), loosely adapted from Eric Ambler’s novel The Light of Day.
The first character we meet is our dazzling leading lady (Mercouri), who calls herself Elizabeth Lipp because it’s “convenient.” She introduces herself to us viewers in a most kaleidoscopic fashion, her voice and attitude smokier than a five-alarm fire. Elizabeth explains that we’re in Istanbul, Turkey, in the Seraglio’s Topkapi Palace Museum. Many moons ago, before the museum became a tourist attraction, the joint was the home of Sultan Mahmud I and his many wives. When Elizabeth literally beckons us viewers to follow her, we’re intrigued before we start! But our gal isn’t really greedy; of all the museum’s treasures, Elizabeth is only interested in a particular golden dagger adorned with “the four greatest emeralds the world has ever known,” bringing new meaning to the phrase “the wearing of the green.” For the record, Elizabeth seems especially keen on the rectangular emerald. As she leans against the glass, “a strange feeling comes over me,” she moans, almost orgasmically. Director of Photography Henri Alekan (Roman Holiday; the 1946 version of Beauty and the Beast; Wings of Desire) truly makes Mercouri look like she’s making sweet love to the camera!
|Babe in Toyland!|
Elizabeth leaves Turkey for Paris, where we meet her former flame: suave, Swiss Walter Harper (Maximilian Schell, Oscar-winner for Judgment at Nuremberg; Oscar-nominee for The Man in the Glass Booth and Julia; and scene-stealer in one of my favorite Adrien Brody films, The Brothers Bloom). Oh, did I mention that Walter happens to be holding a gun to a man’s back at the time? Luckily for his nervous mark, Walter pleasantly lets the guy leave with his life. Elizabeth has been watching, and the pair is more than happy to pick up where they left off, both romance-wise and theft-wise—and why not, with their great chemistry? Here’s one of my favorite bits of dialogue:
Elizabeth:“Do you mind that I am a nymphomaniac?”
Walter: “It’s your most endearing quality.”
Elizabeth: “Don’t waste it, use it.” (Couple time ensues.)
|"I wish I may, I wish I might, |
steal the jewels I wish tonight!"
Walter is on board with Elizabeth’s dagger heist plan, on one condition: he’ll only work with amateurs who have no pesky police records that might tip off John Law and trip up our happy thieves. The recruits include:
- Englishman Cedric Page, eccentric but genial inventor and whimsical master of all things mechanical, including security systems. He’s played with mischievous delight by the great Robert Morley from The African Queen; Hot Millions (more about that shortly, too); Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe; and Theatre of Blood, among others;
- Muscular Hans Fischer (Indiana-born character actor Jess Hahn, who mostly performed in foreign films) to help with heavy lifting and the like;
- Giulio the Human Fly (French actor/writer/songwriter/acrobat Gilles Ségal), the mute acrobat who actually steals the dagger as he’s lowered from the museum ceiling to outfox the floor-mounted alarm. Word has it Ségal’s stunts inspired the trickwire stunts for both the original TV series and the Tom Cruise movie versions of Mission: Impossible..
|Objects in the rear-view mirror may be |
more cowardly than they appear!
|I needed this today?!|
Now all the gang needs is a patsy to throw the police off the scent. Enter bumbling jack-of-all-trades and small-time would-be con man Arthur Simon Simpson, succinctly described by Walter as “a historian, guide, and schmo.” Arthur is played endearingly and effortlessly by Team Bartilucci fave Peter Ustinov, one of the funniest and most versatile men who ever graced stage, screen (big and small), and comedy albums. Ustinov not only won the second of his two Best Supporting Actor Oscars for Topkapi (he’d previously won for Spartacus in 1961) but he and Ira Wallach also received Oscar nominations in 1968 for their hilarious screenplay for the clever caper comedy Hot Millions. And of course, let’s not forget Ustinov’s turns in Logan’s Run; the animated Grendel Grendel Grendel (another Team B. fave); and several delightful whodunits based on Dame Agatha Christie’s mysteries about the beloved detective Hercule Poirot, among many others. As you’ve probably noticed, we could cheerfully blather away about all things Ustinov in a blog post all about the great man himself, but we’ll do our best to pull ourselves together and focus on Topkapi!
|Gerven knows how to |
make guests feel welcome!
|Melina coaxes Max out of his Schell!|
|Laughter is the best medicine|
for jewel heists! Who knew?
Now then, where were we? Ah yes, Elizabeth and Walter need a schmo for their heist plan. Even the tourists don’t take Arthur seriously—especially those who he’s tried to expose to local night life—sidestepping him as if he had dog poop permanently stuck to his shoe. In short, Arthur is perfect for our thieves’ purposes! They hire him to drive a white luxury Lincoln convertible into Turkey which, as the B-52’s sang, seats about twenty. Little does Arthur realize the car’s full of hidden explosives and firearms for the upcoming robbery, and he’s been set up as the poor patsy driver in case there’s trouble at the border! Arthur’s role in the scheme almost literally blows up in his face, especially when Turkish Customs officials see that Arthur’s passport has long since expired (maybe Arthur and Oscar Homolka’s Prof. Gurkakoff from Ball of Fire can trade expired-drivers’ license anedotes). The car is searched, the firearms are confiscated, and Arthur becomes the catch of the day: Grilled Simpson! The Turkish Secret Police, led by the sinister yet undeniably cool-looking Major Ali Tufan (Turkish actor Ege Ernart) and his colleague Harback (character actor Tito Vandis, billed here as “Titos Wandis.” His many roles include The Exorcist; Never on Sunday with Mercouri; and Team B.’s favorite among his roles, the lovesick shepherd from Woody Allen’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* [*but were afraid to ask]). Major Tufan and Harback are sure our gang is plotting an assassination at an upcoming military parade, and they recruit Arthur to spy on our lovable rogues, under threat of death! The joke’s on them, as Arthur is as much of a bumbling spy as he is a bumbling con man, trying to pass along useless intel in cigarette packs. Too bad Arthur doesn’t seem to have gotten the hang of thorough toilet-flushing. And we’re not even in the Topkapi Museum yet! But as they say, getting there is half the fun—heck, it’s all the fun, especially with a suspenseful climactic robbery sequence that rivals Dassin’s own Rififi! Akim Tamiroff (his roles ranged from Preston Sturges’ The Great McGinty and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek to Touch of Evil and other Orson Welles films, and so much more!), is another scene-stealer as Gerven, a drunken cook who unwittingly throws a new monkey wrench in the works. I can say no more for fear of giving away any more of Topkapi’s sparkling surprises (and we don’t just mean emeralds), but I will say it includes my favorite usage of the phrase “A little bird told me.”
|Joseph Dassin, Jules' son:|
proof that nepotism can be a wonderful thing!
Fun Facts: In Ustinov in Focus by Tony Thomas, Ustinov admitted, "I have a special affection for Topkapi. The character is so absurd. I love the idea of a man who aims low and misses. Simpson is the kind of man who wears blazers a little too consistently, the kind with military presumptions, who has to belong to a cricket club. He's a man who hovers between the more reprehensible columns of The News of the World and oblivion." Also, Joseph Dassin, singer/songwriter son of director/producer Jules Dassin, plays Josef, dashing proprietor of the traveling fair display that’ll spirit the dagger out of the country. It proves that nepotism can be a wonderful thing!
Would it surprise anyone to hear that soon after its theatrical success, Topkapi inspired a real-life theft in my hometown? Three men broke into New York City’s American Museum of Natural History and escaped with the famous Star of India, the De Long Ruby, and other priceless treasures. They were eventually caught, and admitted in custody that they had seen Topkapi prior to their robbery. See, life sometimes does imitate art!
|Arthur has vertigo! When did this become a Hitchcock movie?|
|The Annual 43-Man Squamish Tournament begins!|
|As Elizabeth Lipp, Melina Mercouri can join our Red Hat Society anytime!|
|Nobody's here but us thieves!|
I got me a Lincoln, it seats about twenty....
This is Ustinov at his most outrageous (and Nero was pretty crazy). Dassin was really an adept director when it came to this type of film.ReplyDelete
Kim, I agree! Ustinov and Dassin were an inspired team-up in this charmingly cheeky caper, and the rest of the great cast were no slouches in the awesomeness department either! :-) Thanks for starting off the TOPKAPI convo and the weekend right!Delete
Interestingly enough, I just recently re-watched TOPKAPI (plus another Ustinov favorite, HOT MILLIONS, which is another film I wish you'd cover), so a lot of the details are still fresh on my mind. I always remember the film for several reasons:ReplyDelete
1. This was the first movie I ever saw where someone actually flushed a toilet. (Raises hand) Honest! Up until now, in all the other movies I grew up watching, toilets apparently didn't work.
(What is it about European directors somehow making toilets humorous in heist films? THE BIGGEST BUNDLE OF THEM ALL features an extremely funny bit involving an outhouse at a gas station.)
2. Melina Mercouri doubtless has to be the most predatory-looking human being I have ever encountered. I'm sure she was really a nice woman who was kind to small animals and children (before roasting them!), but every time I see her in TOPKAPI I feel like a tethered goat. When she's watching the outdoor wrestling match she's channeling so much visible lust I'm surprised she didn't put on a wrestler bib to catch the drool! Not to mention the way she practically gets into an orgiastic heat while describing the Topkapi Emeralds at the beginning of the film. Wow!
(A pity the James Bond franchise never tapped her for a villainness role. And just think what she could've done with Rosalind Russell's role in THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS.)
Another Mercouri story: some of the trolls at the IMDb comment board for TOPKAPI have stated that she wasn't "beautiful" enough. OK . . . personal tastes aside . . . since when was being attractive a requisite for pulling off a cinematic robbery?
The complaint has also been leveled that TOPKAPI is a "weak film" and a "misfire". So much for our education system. I still enjoy TOPKAPI to this day (the intro to the film iteself should be hanging in the Louvre), and now, because of your review, I'll have Manos Hatzidakis' snazzy music running through my head for the rest of the day.
Michael, as always, your witty comments had me smiling! I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who initially found Melina Mercouri a little daunting! But hey, Mercouri sure was one of a kind, not one of those pallid milksops who pass for movie stars all too often these days. I loved your response to the trolls who claimed Mercouri wasn't "beautiful" enough: "...since when was being attractive a requisite for pulling off a cinematic robbery?" You tell 'em, pal! Now I wish I had a time machine to go back and follow your suggestion to cast Mercouri as a James Bond villainous -- pure genius, my friend! And yes, Manos Hatzidakis' music has been running through my head since I started working on the TOPKAPI blog, and I'm loving it! And don't worry, HOT MILLIONS is definitely on our to-blog list -- the only question will be which of us will blog about it first, Vinnie or me! :-) So glad you dropped by to join the TOPKAPI conversation, Michael; we've always got a comfy seat ready for you!Delete
Well, predatory and beautiful can make a helluva combination, as Mercouri demonstrates here. As to Ustinov--a real favorite of mine, too--have you read his memoir Dear Me or his fiction? Well worth your time.ReplyDelete
John, you're quite right about the great combination of "predatory and beautiful" when it comes to Melina Mercouri! I've been meaning to get my mitts on Peter Ustinov's fiction and memoirs for sometime, but I sheepishly admit I have yet to get around to doing so. I intend to correct this oversight as soon as possible. Thanks for joining the TOPKAPI conversation; we're always delighted to have the pleasure of your company, whether it's online or in person! Hugs to you and the lovely Catherine from all of us here at Team Bartilucci H.Q.!Delete
Dorian, Melina Mercouri still freaks me out sometimes (especially in TOPKAPI)! But it's still one of the best heist films and, as you noted, Ustinov is delightful. Bruce Geller said it was his inspiration for the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE TV series. I recently saw HOT MILLIONS, which is entertaining despite an ending that didn't work for me. Michael W., I haven't thought of THE BIGGEST BUNDLE OF THEM ALL in years. They just don't make those modest international pictures any more.ReplyDelete
Rick, we're happy you've joined our TOPKAPI conversation as well as our Peter Ustinov lovefest! :-) True, Melina Mercouri may be something of an acquired taste, but I'm glad I did. Besides, I also have great respect for Mercouri on account of her efforts to restore the famed Elgin Marbles to Greece.Delete
I'm also pleased to have confirmation that TOPKAPI gave Bruce Geller the idea for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Vinnie and I both happen to love Ustinov in both TOPKAPI and HOT MILLIONS. Perhaps one of these days Vin and I will do one of our Team Bartilucci double-features here at TotED, teaming up both films. As far as we're concerned, the world needs more witty, playful international caper films! :-)
Loved Rififi but have not seen Topkapi. After reading this great blog, I know I must. Mercouri had great screen presence. I remember her in "Once is not Enough." She and Alexis Smith played secret lovers. The movie wasn't great but she and Smith showed why they were stars.ReplyDelete
Gilby, thanks for your kind praise of my TOPKAPI blog post! I'm delighted to hear you're a fan of the inimitable Melina Mercouri, too! I'd never seen ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH, but your comments got me curious enough to hop over to YouTube and check out the scene with Mercouri and Alexis Smith having a Sapphic rendezvous at the Waldorf=Astoria. Boy, Mercouri and Smith looked gorgeous, and had real chemistry together. You nailed it when you said Mercouri and Smith showed why they were stars! And I do hope you'll catch up with TOPKAPI; it's great fun, and it's not only on TCM from time to time, but it's also available on DVD!Delete
Dassin is one of my favorite directors, so many great films like NIGHT AND THE CITY, BRUTE FORCE, THIEVES HIGHWAY and RIFIFI to name a few. I saw TOPKAPI many years ago on TV and while remember liking it I can't say I remember much of it either.Your review has whet my appetite to take another look at it, which I will do, the next time it pops up on TCM, or if I can find a copy at the library. Another great review here D.ReplyDelete
John, I like your new blogger handle "John/24Frames" -- there's something cool and sleek about it! I also like your kind words about my TOPKAPI blog post -- many thanks, my friend! If you like your heist movies playful as well as thrilling, TOPKAPI is well worth seeking out. In fact, your mentions of Jules Dassin's more dramatic crime thrillers have me jotting myself a reminder to revisit those films sooner rather than later! We're always glad to have you join the conversation!Delete
Always a pleasure to stop by and read your tales. Speaking of caper films, have you ever seen BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET with Victorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroanni? Wonderful take off on RIFIFI and other caper films.ReplyDelete
John, BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET is another one of those movies I've been meaning to catch up with (especially since I'm a sucker for caper films, particularly lighthearted ones), but haven't the opportunity to do so. I've heard so many good things about it, and it's most certainly on my to-see list! Much obliged for the reminder! :-)Delete
Dorian -I saw this many moons ago and, to my young eyes and mind, this was the ultimate in continental sophistication. And my, my - don't those '60s fin films hold up well? Thanks for such a fun post!ReplyDelete
FlickChick, many thanks for your kind praise! I knew a cosmopolitan New Yorker-about-town such as yourself must surely be a TOPKAPI fan! :-) Your comments brought back memories of the movie theaters of my youth, and I quite agree that TOPKAPI and other 1960s favorites truly were "the ultimate in continental sophistication," and still hold up beautifully today. In fact, we could use more films like that!Delete
I have never seen this movie. Sounds like a lot of fun! Peter Ustinov is always a fave.ReplyDelete
Ruth, if you love Peter Ustinov (and who wouldn't? :-)), I know you'll love the smart and snappy TOPKAPI! Incidentally, I noticed on the TCM Web site that the DVD is available for $14.99. Such a deal! ;-)Delete
Dorian, it's been years since I saw Topkapi, but I know I loved it. Melina is so unique and so good -- Never on Sunday is one of my favorites. And Peter Ustinov -- well, I never saw him in a bad performance! Loved your captions, as usual, particularly "Objects in the rear-view mirror may beReplyDelete
more cowardly than they appear!" LOL! Hopefully, your excellent article will turn some people on to this movie!
Becky, I knew a gal with your excellent taste in movies would surely love TOPKAPI, not to mention Melina Mercouri and Peter Ustinov; heck, Maximilian Schell was no slouch either! It had been on TCM again in recent months, during 31 DAYS OF OSCAR, and last week, too -- great timing, since it gave me another excuse to watch TOPKAPI so I could polish this very blog post and make it all pretty and shiny! :-) Thanks for your compliments on my captions, too! Yes, I confess, I was kinda proud of that "Objects in the rear-view mirror..." gag!Delete
Ironically, although I love TOPKAPI, I've never actually had an opportunity to watch the marvelous Melina in her Oscar-nominated performance in NEVER ON SUNDAY (which I understand she did on Broadway, too, in a musical version)
Thanks again, dear friend, and here's hoping you're right and more people will seek out this classic comedy caper!
Dorian, m'dear, I don't have much to say in the way of Topkapi movie wisdom because I saw this so long ago I barely remember what, who, why and wherefore. I do remember Istanbul, though. And who can forget Peter Ustinov? He is so wonderful. I can never forget him too as Hercule Poirot in EVIL UNDER THE SUN, as he saunters down to the beach all done up in a bathing suit and robe embroidered with his initials. Not to mention the jaunty little cap. SO endearingly funny.ReplyDelete
Melina Mercouri is an acquired taste that, unfortunately, I never acquired. Don't know why. Though I do like her growly voice. And I vaguely remember that on the whole, I liked TOPKAPI. But more for Peter Ustinov, Akim Tamiroff and Robert Morley.
A fun, informative post, Dorian. :)
Yvette, I love your adorable your avatar with the toy kid wearing the striped shirt! I'm glad you find our hero Peter Ustinov as endearing as we of Team Bartilucci do, even if Melina Mercouri isn't your cup of ouzo; even I admit she's an acquired taste. But then, I come from a family of gals with husky-to-growly voices! :-)Delete
I agree with you about the appeal of rest of the cast, especially Ustinov in EVIL UNDER THE SUN in that delightful swimming ensemble with the adorable bathing cap. Ustinov rocks, and we're always happy to have you join the conversation even if we must agree to disagree, dear friend! :-)
LOL, I'm admitting publicly that I have no idea what a Squamish tournament is, but I do know that Lincoln's can hold a lot of folks and stuff too. Sounds like an interesting and funny flick.ReplyDelete
Eve, I think you'd get a kick out of both TOPKAPI and 43-Man Squamish, the latter being a classic MAD MAGAZINE piece! Great spoof of sports of all kinds! Here's a link to it -- enjoy, my friend!ReplyDelete
I just finished watching the Topkapi movie trailer, with beautiful shots of Greece and Turkey, which reminded me a little of the James Bond films. This does look like a movie I would enjoy.. Thank you for your awesome 60's movie review.ReplyDelete
Dawn, thanks for your enthusiastic comments about my TOPKAPI review and the trailer! I assure you that the film itself is every bit as playful and fun, and I agree with you that the gorgeous Greece and Turkey locations, along with the plot's derring-do, definitely gives it an enticing James Bond feel. I think you'd enjoy watching the whole film from start to finish. Happily, it's available on DVD as well as turning up on TCM from time to time. Watching TOPKAPI in the comfort of your home is the next best thing to a luxury vacation! :-)Delete
ok, watched it! really enjoyed it!ReplyDelete
I dug the character intros,
Ustinov was so funny, great line from your post: "a man who aims low and misses"
is he a man or a Jelly?!
Ustinov +Akim Tamiroff together were great, as you tease with that pic.
Robert Morley's another fave of mine, him wiping the grease all over his face...
Schell was so SO suave and handsome (here & in Young Lions- wow) it speaks to this being a fun &well-cast cast, that they managed to tear my eyes away from Schell at all! everyone has their important part to play, as actors and within the scheme, not an irrelevant person, scene or moment in the picture.
not just his look but that wonky accent totally makes Ernart so distinctive. I really loved the funny fair scene between him &Ustinov: " / hod you deduce that?/ they said they were spies/ a clever deduction" ... "she said I was attractive to her/ FOOL! she knew you were listening! hahah, rewound that whole convo and rewatched it.
(because I was recently reminded of Sharon Stone in that horrid Diabolique remake-- Disastrique!) THIS was the type of role that would've been made for her, if a decent remake could ever have been made. I can't lie, first thing I think of whenever I hear Mercouri's voice, is Senor Wencas' hand: "s'arright?" "s'arright!"
I have a tea cart and want it to serve me drinks on its own like Morley's does.
also caught Hot Millions& will be watching soon...
Thanks for the great post & the tip! I can't believe never saw Topkapi, I just tend to grab older stuff first and have lots of post 1960 movie still sitting on the To Watch pile...pssst! havent seen Rififi yet either, don't tell anyone.
Now I just have to get my hands on the sequel to Topkapi! can't wait to see it ;)
Kristina, many thanks for your kudos for my TOPKAPI post! thanks for your I knew a gal of your playful wit and great taste would enjoy it! Interesting that so many of us movie mavens don't always think of 1960s movies as classic films; of course, I think that way because I was born in 1963, so that period still feels relatively new to me! :-)Delete
As always, your smart and snappy quips always leave me laughing, you clever girl! In particular, I got a kick out of your comment about Mercouri's unmistakable voice: "'Senor Wencas' hand: "s'arright?' 's'arright!'" I also loved Ustinov's crack about his character being "a man who aims low and misses."
While I usually pay the most attention to the funnier actors in fun caper films, especially in TOPKAPI, I must admit I was wowed by Maximilian Schell, too; I like it when sexy fellas like Schell (or Schell's BROTHERS BLOOM castmate Adrien Brody, for that matter :-)) are witty and don't take themselves too seriously.
I've been hearing about a new remake/sequel to TOPKAPI for some time, but I'll believe it when I see it -- and even if it materializes, it'll still have to be pretty darn amazing to be on a par with the one and only original TOPKAPI! I'm so glad you joined the conversation, Kristina. You're welcome at TotED anytime, and I look forward to seeing what you think of HOT MILLIONS, too, another Team B. fave!
I finally made it here! Woot Woot!
First off, before I forget. You saw Topkapi at an earlier age than I did the first go around. I can see how you came up with your first impressions about it at that age. It's fairly similar to how I felt while seeing it at 17 or 18.
So glad you included the animated gifs. That intro tells you all you need to about the ride you're fixing to take with this one. She is scary to me even now! I picture her jaw coming unhinged like a mannequins jaw for some reason.
You've included some really fun trivia and I must say I'll be stealing Ustinov's "I love the idea of a man who aims low and misses."
My DVR was full so I didn't record it when it re-aired recently. I have to say that your review more than made up for missing it. Loved your hilarious captions as well.
When I was in New York with an ex boyfriend a few years ago and visiting the Natural History Museum he told me all about that jewel theft, the Star of India. The way he told it I feel like he knew the robber. (Boy, that's weird) anyway I seem to remember the guy had a weird name like Bodie or something. Interesting that they got the idea from Topkapi. If I could remember Todd's # I would call him up and share that little detail.
Well researched and fun as always Dorian! (Waves to Vinnie)
Page, I always look forward to your witty responses here at TotED; thanks ever so much for your praise! I'm tickled that you enjoyed my TOPKAPI fun facts, quotes, and captions (especially from our man Ustinov!) I laughed out loud over your quip about Mercouri: "I picture her jaw coming unhinged like a mannequins jaw for some reason." GIF-Master Vinnie (that breeze you're feeling is Vin waving hello :-)) is delighted that you enjoyed his wonderful work, and so am I! :-)Delete
Loved your anecdote about your ex and his recounting of the jewel heist at AMNH (as we native New Yorkers call it for short). When someone remembers that kind of detail, it sure makes you think, doesn't it? Hmm, I feel an idea for another novel coming on.... :-)
Thanks for your kind words and wit, my friend, as always! Tomorrow Vinnie and Shugie and I will be gadding about NYC tomorrow with loved ones for the day; hope you and yours have a swell day and a fine weekend!
I also love this film--my wife nearly jumped in my lap during the heist sequence--and the novel it's based on, THE LIGHT OF DAY by Eric Ambler; one of my favorite authors. It was for him that I named my publishing company, Ambler House. His other novels are great, too; In fact I've *just* reviewed another of his novel on my A CURIOUS MAN for those of you who are . . . curious.ReplyDelete
Thom, you're a clever and resourceful fella, managing to add sizzle to a movie night by choosing an exciting caper film like TOPKAPI, a film virtually guaranteed to catapult your lovely wife into your lap! :-)Delete
I'm surprised at myself for not immediately making the connection with your publishing company Ambler House; after all, who doesn't enjoy Eric Ambler's spine-tingling tales of derring-do? Thanks for the heads-up on your novel review on your fine blog, A CURIOUS MAN, which everyone reading this should check out and enjoy! In fact, here's a link to all things Burchfield, including Thom's current excellent blog post:
Thom, thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation here at TotED, my friend! Although I may be easily distracted, we're always happy to have you join the conversation here at TotED!
Ustinov could do no wrong in my book. "Topkapi" provides a lot of humour and a glorious punchline. What a treat!ReplyDelete
Caftan Woman, I knew a gal with your excellent taste in movies would surely be a fellow Peter Ustinov fan, and therefore a TOPKAPI fan! I agree with you about its great punchline, too. Here's to good friends with good taste in movies! :-)Delete