DATELINE: Masterpieces on Satire
If you look at this movie’s pedigree, you cannot go wrong. How to Steal a Million was a bit of fluff and a trifle from 1966 when stars were really able to carry a movie.
Audrey Hepburn can be forgiven for some of the ridiculous 1960s Givenchy outfits, but she is perfect in them—and her costar Peter O’Toole matches her every step of the way, even commenting it is time to give Givenchy a day off.
A wealthy socialite, Hepburn must orchestrate a theft from a Paris museum of a fake statue she owns but puts on loan in error! The museum is about to have the priceless fake examined—and she will be found out—and her father sent to prison.
O’Toole was escaping his epic dramas, for some fluff, with this film.
Director William Wyler (Mrs. Miniver, Ben Hur, Roman Holiday, The Heiress, and countless other classics) knows how to deliver high class and high quality. On top of that, it is one of John Williams’s first music scores (Jaws, Star Wars, etc.).
Combine this with top-of-their-career performances by Hepburn and O’Toole and you will forgive some of the anachronisms of the 1960s. O’Toole even gives us a quick impersonation of one of Hepburn’s earlier leading men (Humphrey Bogart, Sabrina).
Hugh Griffith is Hepburn’s reprobate father and Charles Boyer is around for a laugh, but Eli Wallach surprises as the wealthy boorish American billionaire art collector.
Filmed in Paris for atmosphere, the clever caper unfolds under the aegis of O’Toole who is actually a detective who uncovers art forgeries.