Hot Millions – 1968 | 106 mins | Comedy | Colour
Dry-witted, charming crime caper about computer embezzlement from the Oscar-nominated original screenplay by Ira Wallach and Peter Ustinov. This largely ignored comedy boasts some excellent ensemble acting, stimulating direction from Eric Till, handsome production values and the appealing Metrocolor cinematography of Ken Higgins. The film, amongst the earliest showing the perpetrators ‘getting away with it’, never found an audience at the 1960s box office but has since gained appreciation due to repeated television screenings. The talented cast produce thoroughly engaging performance, particularly Peter Ustinov in his solo moments and Karl Malden’s restrained characterisation.
Just released from Wormwood Scrubs prison after being caught out by the age of computerisation, veteran crook Marcus Pendleton (Peter Ustinov) decides that the modern embezzler must be a computer expert. He tricks renowned computer genius Caesar Smith (Robert Morley) off on a wild moth chase to South America, impersonates him, and then cons his way into the good grace of womanising executive Carlton Klemper (Karl Malden), head of the British wing of an American industrial conglomerate. Pendleton programmes into the company computer three fictitious firms in Frankfurt, Paris, and Rome to which large cheques are to be sent. Complicating Pendleton’s progress are Klemper’s suspicious assistant, Willard C. Gnatpole (Bob Newhart), and the secretary who lives above him in his boarding house, Patty Terwilliger (Maggie Smith), who falls for him. They marry and she quickly becomes pregnant. They leave for Rio de Janeiro immediately. Soon enough, Klemper uncovers the robberies and enlists Gnatpole to help capture the crooked duo.
Eric Till: Director
William C Andrews: Art Direction
Kenneth Higgins: Cinematography
Germinal Rangel: Costume Design
Richard Marden: Film Editing
Laurie Johnson: Original Music
Mildred Freed Alberg: Producer
Peter Ustinov: Script
Ira Wallach: Script
Allan Sones: Sound Department
Gerry Turner: Sound Department
AW Watkins: Sound Department