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Forgotten Films of the 60’s: Gambit (1966)

Ah, how soon we forget!

Gambit was an A-list caper film that starred Michael Caine as the thief and Shirley MacLaine as his initially unwitting accomplice.

Caine is out to steal a priceless statue from the world’s richest man (Herbet Lom). MacLaine bears an uncanny resemblance to Lom’s dead wife, whom he adored. (Hey, if she looked like Shirley Maclaine, what’s not to adore?)

The film’s main gimmick is that we first see the caper play out flawlessly. In the film’s first of several twists, we then find out what we’ve been seeing is merely the way Caine has described his plan to his partner, an art forger (John Abbott).

From there, we see how the caper really plays out, which of course is nothing like way Caine thought it would go. The chief reason for this is that MacLaine is far more eccentric and resistant to his plans than Caine imagined.

The movie keeps throwing plot twists at you right through to the final shot.

While not as purely entertaining as Charade, another film in a similar vein, it is still great fun.

Gambit was nominated for 3 Academy Awards and was remade in 2012 (far less successfully) with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz as the stars.

The original Gambit is available on home video. Give it a watch, then tell your friends about the ending, but don’t dare reveal the film’s beginning!

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