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SEVEN THIEVES(director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: Sydney Boehm/from the book Lions at the Kill by Max Catto; cinematographer: Sam Leavitt; editor: Dorothy Spencer; music: Dominic Frontiere; cast: Edward G. Robinson (Theo Wilkins), Rod Steiger (Paul Mason), Joan Collins (Melanie), Eli Wallach (Poncho), Alexander Scourby (Raymond Le May); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sydney Boehm; 20th Century Fox; 1960)
“Routine caper about a casino heist in the French Riviera.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Routine caper about a casino heist in the French Riviera with a surprise ending and a banal motto to sum up the film’s theme, “Honesty pays.” The only fun thing about this flick is to watch the veteran Eddie G. Robinson ply his craft as the professor, a part that he could do walking in his sleep. Discredited professor Edward G. Robinson wants to retire on a nest-egg after one last job and gathers together a seven-person criminal gang, as he schemes to crack the underground casino vault at Monte Carlo.

The first half of the film is tediously spent getting the gang together, as tough guy Rod Steiger has to be convinced to join. When he comes aboard, he takes over the whole operation from the more benign Robinson. The only thing that keeps you awake is eyeballing a youthful Joan Collins in her prime, as she acts the part of a trampy exotic dancer (Is there any other kind?) in a French Riviera club. In the second half the heist plan goes off with precision and the film gets back on track with a more bearable pace.

With their success, Robinson is not around to enjoy the fruits of his labor and the crew begins to squabble among themselves as they can’t fence the stolen merchandise. Workmanlike director Henry Hathaway builds up the suspense with a number of plot devices, but in the twisty ending nothing seems credible. Screenwriter Sydney Boehm based the story on the book Lions at the Kill by Max Catto

I think this snappy crime drama was meant to also be a comedy, but the characters had no fun in them to pull that heist off.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”