How to Steal a Million
Puja Miri Yajnik
‘How to Steal a Million’ is a 1966-released American comedy-romance, directed by William Wyler. The film is based on a story entitled ‘Venus Rising’ by George Bradshaw. It stars Peter O’Toole, Audrey Hepburn, Eli Wallach and other very talented actors.
The story centres around Charles Bonnet (Hugh Griffith) and his daughter, Nicole (Hepburn). They live in a beautiful house in Paris, the attic of which hides a secret: Bonnet is a leading art forger, much to the disapproval of Nicole. The former follows his profession in a nonchalant manner, his daughter afraid that he might be arrested at any minute. It is when his fake Cellini statuette is to be subjected to a technical evaluation that things begin to go haywire. Enters Simon Dermott (O’Toole), a burglar. I thought that the first meeting of Simon and Nicole was absolutely hilarious. The chemistry between the protagonists is great; they argue and fight and have an obvious attraction to one another from the very beginning. There is a moment where Nicole shoots the burglar, then proceeds to bandage his wound. From then on, there are a lot of extremely funny moments, with them running helter-skelter, planning a rather audacious robbery. It ultimately culminates in an interesting ending with a curious twist.
Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe, designed by Givenchy, went on to become a trend-setter. Peter O’Toole looks dashing and very James Bond-ish in his immaculate suits. I found the museum scenes a lesson in understated comedy. The romantic tension in the cupboard in which they are hiding, alongside the casual discussion over stealing the forgery amidst the top-tier security keeps the audience’s attention. Even if at moments it seems to just be a series of nonsensical goings-on, the film carries you with its skilful rhythm.
‘How to Steal a Million’ is a great watch; a light, fun romance. It has faultless performances, beautiful locations and great fashion; in short, something for everyone. The film maintains the lighthearted mood throughout, the emotional connection between father and daughter is sensitively and realistically handled, all the actors have fantastic comic timing, and there are several moments where you will laugh because of an expression, even before any words are uttered. A fun film which will leave the viewer in a pleasant mood, perhaps with a smile on their face.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.