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October 27, 2007

Crooks Anonymous

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Ken Annakin - 1962
Wham! USA Region 1 DVD

Even without Julie Christie, Crooks Anonymous is enjoyable. Written by frequent collaborator Jack Davies, Ken Annakin has a very sarcastic comedy, funnier than many of the British films that use to play in U.S. art houses when the weren't showing La Dolce Vita or the latest film with Brigitte Bardot. The story is of a pickpocket who has trouble going straight, finding himself in a special program for reformed crooks. The scene of Leslie Phillips locked in a room full of safes, each with a special booby-trap is quite funny. Notable also is a scene of a Christmas Eve heist by six Santas.

Crooks Anonymous will probably be best remembered for featuring the debut film performance of Julie Christie as Phillips' stripper girlfriend. It's the kind of role that in earlier films would have been performed by someone like Diana Dors or Shirley Eaton. Thanks primarily to John Schlesinger, Christie has had a remarkable career showcasing both her beauty and acting talent. Still, as a longtime admirer, I have to admit to enjoying seeing Julie Christie when she was merely the latest slice of British cheesecake.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 27, 2007 12:57 AM