Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grand Slam (1967)

This is one of those movies that sounds cool, looks cool, has a great dvd-release from Blue Underground and probably is a hell of a movie - but you never buy it or see it. A pity, because Grand Slam one of the best heist-movies I've seen. I'm not just talking about the stylish way they made this movie, but also the tight script and spot-on characters. Anyway. Edward G. Robinson plays Professor Anders, just retired from a long teaching-career in Rio. And he has a fantastic plan to make some money finally. He goes to his friend, New York-gangster Mark Milford (Adolfo Celi) and get's the men to execute his master plan: to steal a bag full of diamonds!

Milford suggests four of the best for the plan: Erich Weiss (Klaus Kinski), a brutal and military-type german who might be gay, french gigolo Jean-Paul Audry (Robert Hoffmann), the kind italian toymaker Agostino Rossi (Riccardo Cucciolla) and english butler, and safe-expert, Gregg (George Rigaud). They meet up in Rio and starts preparing for the most daring heist ever.

Jean-Paul's job is to get a key from the stiff and cold Mary Ann (Janet Leigh), who works for the diamond-company and he will deliver that in time for the break-in, who also is planned during the big carnivale in Rio...

Nothing is at it seems in Grand Slam, and I'm happy to say that this is a smart and extremely gorgeous heist-movie. You know, a movie only an italian crew could make during the sixties. All actors are great here, but Kinski is make one of the best parts in his career. For once, during this period, he plays one of the heroes and makes a strong performance with a lot of layers. I'm not sure about the gay-thing actually, but there's something in his behavior towards Jean-Paul that gives me this suspicion: how he eyes him, calling him handsome and pretty boy (though this could just be to tease him) and being very hostile to him because his job is to seduce a woman.

Grand Slam is also finally with some clever visual effects, some that works better than the others. My favorite is the laser-beams in the big safe, which of course is a physical effect built in the studio, but works very fine. It's not without action either, but the story and characters are the important thing, so the explosions and car-chase is just a small detail on the road.

I'm happy I finally bought this movie to my collection, because it's a fab release from Blue Underground and a wonderful movie with a lot of suspense and more than one twist...

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