Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 7th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1966
Director: William Wyler
Writer: Harry Kurnitz
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Charles Boyer, Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith, Fernand Gravey, Marcel Dalio, Jacques Marin
BluRay released: April 18th, 2017
Approximate running times: 123 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
How to Steal a Million was directed by William Wyler who’s other notable films include, Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives, Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur and The Collector. Key collaborators on How to Steal a Million include, cinematographer Charles Lang (Sabrina, Some Like it Hot) and composer John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope).
Though romantic comedies have been a staple of cinema since its inception. Over the years, this type of comedies has undergone a drastic transformation where these types of films have become too predictable. And nowhere is this more evident in the by the numbers approach to their narratives. Fortunately for those who long for a by gone era of filmmaking there are film’s like How to Steal a Million.
The narrative for How to Steal a Million is a whimsical farce that finds a perfect balance between it more dramatic and humorous moments. Another area where this film’s excels are it’s well defined characters and this is further reinforced by the exceptional performances from this film’s two lead’s, Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady, Two for the Road) in the role of Nicole, the daughter of a forger and Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, The Stunt Man) in the role of Simon Dermott, a private investigator who is posing as a thief. They have a tremendous amount of chemistry and the moments they share together are easily the moments memorable.
Not to be overlooked are the secondary cast members who are all very in their respective roles. And other notable cast members include, Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) in the role of a wealthy art collector named Davis Leland, Hugh Griffith (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) in the role Bonnet, Nicole’s art forging father and Jacques Marin (Charade) in the role of Chief Guard, who is in charge of guarding the statue that Nicole and Simon are trying to steal.
Another key character that contributes greatly to the story at hand, is the city of Paris. And when it comes to the visuals, this film takes full advantage of the Paris locations. Standout moments include, the scene where Nicole meets Simon as he appears to stealing a painting from her father forged. And the film’s main set piece where Nicole and Simon steal back the forged statue that her father has lent to The Louvre.
How to Steal a Million comes on a 50 GB dual layer (37.1 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Outside of a few minor instances details look crisp, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy, black levels look solid throughout and there are no issues with compression. When compared to previous home video releases this new transfer is superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced. The score sounds robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight-page booklet with an essay about the film written by Julie Kirgo, an option to listen to an Isolated music track, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 26 seconds), a documentary titled Audrey Hepburn: The Fairest Lady (45 minutes 1 second) and an audio commentary with actor Eli Wallach and Catherine Wyler.
The extra titled Audrey Hepburn: The Fairest Lady is a career retrospective documentary that original appeared on A&E.
Topics Catherine Wyler discusses in the audio commentary include, the cast and background information about them, a detailed account of her father William Wyler’s career as a filmmaker, the score, the wardrobe, her thoughts about the film and various other production related topics.
Overall How to Steal a Million gets a excellent release from Twilight Time, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.