Rent Topkapi (1964)

3.3 of 5 from 98 ratings
1h 55min
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Trouble brews beneath the exotically curved towers of Istanbul when the equally exotic - and equally curved - Elizabeth Lipp (Melina Mercouri) recruits her former lover (Maximilian Schell) in a scheme to heist the pride of the city's Topkapi museum: a jewel-encrusted dagger. But the "job" soon turns into a high-tension, high-wire performance - literally - when the bumbling fall guy (Peter Ustinov) and other amateurs they've hired as help find they'll have to lift their prize while dangling from the museum's vaulted ceiling!
, , , , , , , , Ege Ernart, Senih Orkan, Ahmet Danyal Topatan, Joseph Dassin,
Monja Danischewsky, Eric Ambler
Classics, Comedy
A Brief History of Galleries and Museums in Film: Part 1, A Brief History of Galleries and Museums in Film: Part 2, Acting Up: British Actors at the Oscars, Award Winners, Heist Movies: A 20-Year Stretch, Heist Movies: Masterminds and Mavericks, Oscar's Two-Time Club, Oscars: Winners & Losers, A Brief History of Film..., Top 10 Films of 1972, Top Films

1965 Oscar Best Supporting Actor

Release Date:
Run Time:
115 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, German Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, French, German Hard of Hearing, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.66:1
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Reviews (1) of Topkapi

Caper Heist (spoiler). - Topkapi review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Reminiscent of Jules Dassin's classic caper Rififi (1955). But this is a more lavish, colourful and spectacular production. Shot in Paris, Greece and Turkey, its ensemble cast and and exotic locations would be hugely influential on the heist film. A band of crooks come together to steal an emerald encrusted dagger from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

There are the usual stages of the three act heist film. The stars (Melina Mercouri and Maximilian Schell) assemble an eccentric team of character actors, and devise a plan. Next, they stage the caper in an extended set piece of sustained suspense. But the normal final twist is subverted. Rather than the theft being foiled by the gang's own weaknesses, the enterprise is a redemption.

They fail because of dumb bad luck. But the emotional nucleus of the film is Peter Ustinov as a shabby petty crook who finds self-esteem through overcoming his fears. Ustinov is excellent, and won an Oscar. But, beware casting Akim Tamiroff, because yet again he steals every scene, this time as the grubby, alcoholic cook who caters for the gang.

The humour is engaging rather than hilarious. There's superb location photography of Istanbul, with an evocative score of Balkan folk music. The best of the film is the actual robbery, with Gilles Ségal, the human fly, hanging upside down from the ceiling, slowly lowered onto the treasure. So many borrowed this scenario, and from the film in general.

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