Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach
Director: William Wyler
Running Time: 123 mins
How To Steal A Million is an American film about a woman who must join forces with a local burglar to steal a million-dollar statue from a Paris gallery in order to save her grandfather from arrest after he is suspecting of forging priceless artworks.
I loved this film! It’s a bit of a crazy combination of a romance, a farce, and a crime story, making it some sort of weird romantic caper, but it really works. Two really strong performances coupled with a great screenplay and consistent laughs turn this film into one of the most entertaining crime capers I’ve ever seen.
The main reasons that I enjoyed this film so much was that it was just a barrel of fun to watch. I admit that the first 40 minutes were a little dry, and the story was very slow-starting, but once it all gets into the main bulk of the plot, the heist itself, which lasts for over an hour, it’s unbelievably enjoyable to watch.
The robbery itself is drawn out and quite long-winded, full of silence, anticipation and long scenes of waiting, but that whole sequence really works as a convincing, almost real-time portrayal of the burglary, and some of the more silent parts of that sequence really help to successfully increase the tension and excitement in a film that I was just expecting a bit of comedy and romance from.
However, the whole feel of the main story is very farcical. The first stages are a little bit serious, and it’s not really until we meet Peter O’Toole that a lot more comedy begins to come up.
His performance was absolutely fantastic. While showing some flashes of sophistication, his character is on the whole pretty goofy and eccentric, with countless hilarious lines (almost all of them at the wrong moment), and some zany and harebrained schemes.
Meanwhile, Audrey Hepburn delivers another fantastic performance as a similar character to a lot of her other films, while also being surprising. Here, she’s very funny and charming, but also incredibly caring for her grandfather, and that really helps you to support her strongly, even though she’s carrying out ‘the crime of the century’.
However, the main thing that makes it so easy to enjoy this film and support the two main characters is the romance. Frankly, it would have been a fantastic comedy with a great story even without the romance, but that element to the story adds some real deep emotion to everything, and also really draws you to love the two main characters, despite their madness and scheming.
Overall, then, this gets an 8.2, because it was hilarious, exciting, interesting, well-acted and well-written, with a lovely romance thrown in the middle top things off.