Dir: Mike Hodges | Cast: Michael Caine · Mickey King ; Mickey Rooney · Preston Gilbert • Lionel Stander · Ben Dinuccio ; Lizabeth Scott | UK Drama
Having used the north of England as an incongruous setting for a tale of gangland violence in ‘Get Carter’, Mike Hodges and Michael Caine – who has announced his retirement at the age of 90 – journeyed to Malta for this disarmingly inconsequential shaggy dog story with echoes of the Montessi scandal.
The film abounds in cute visual conceits like the ubiquitous election posters of Frank Cippolata, a police lineup of hitmen dressed as priests; while Caine is at his most laconic passing judgements like “two crossed coffins on the Michelin guide” on a small town.
Along the way he encounters various eccentrics, including Dennis Price in a wide-brimmed hat that earns him the nickname “the Mad Hatter”, Lionel Stander (who actually tells his driver to “take him for a ride”), Mickey Rooney as an abrasive gangster star who boats of being “killed in eighty movies” (I wonder what happened to that portrait of him in his heyday on the wall of his mansion) and most surprising of all – one for the teenagers – Miss Lizabeth Scott. @RichardChatten