(director: Jules Dassin; screenwriters: based on the book “The Light of Day” by Eric Ambler/Monja Danischewsky; cinematographer: Henri Alekan; editor: Roger Dwyre; music: Manos Hadjidakis; cast:  Melina Mercouri (Elizabeth Lipp), Peter Ustinov (Arthur Simpson), Maximilian Schell (William Walter), Robert Morley (Cedric Page), Akim Tamiroff (Geven the cook), Jess Hahn (Hans Fisher), Gilles Segal (Giulio), Joseph Dassin (Josef), Ege Ernart (Maj. Ali Tufan, Turkish Security Service); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jules Dassin; United Artists/MGM/Kino-Lorber; 1964) 

“Zany caper film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Jules Dassin (“Riffifi”/”Never on Sunday”) directed zany caper film, a spoof on his Riffifi heist film, is based on the book “The Light of Day” by Eric Ambler and is written by Monja Danischewsky. Peter Ustinov won a supporting actor Oscar playing the small-time hustler fall guy schmo roped into robbing the invaluable Sultan’s Dagger of emerald, securely housed in the well-guarded and tightly secured in the Topkapi Palace museum in Istanbul.

The theft is masterminded by the suave Maximilian Schell, who is asked by his fellow jewel thief, the sexy, conniving Greek actress, Melina Mercouri, the director’s wife, to round up a gang and plan the heist. Robert Morley is a gang member, handling the techie problems, while the others are amateurs.

The heist is a tense operation carried out in silence when the museum closes at night. 

The film is a stylish, lighthearted, and comical heist drama.

This is my second review of the film, liking it this time better than I did the first time.

REVIEWED ON 2/19/2024 & 3/2/2007   GRADE: B