Dir: Michael Winner
Starring: Michael Crawford, Oliver Reed, Harry Andrews
Been reading the late Oliver Reed‘s authorized (by family, natch) bio, What Fresh Lunacy Is This? I’m mesmerized by the outrageous tales about this whale of a man…England’s pure film actor from the ’60s and ’70s, a star in his time. Ollie got his start in Hammer horrors and was only a year away from international fame thanks to the Oscar® winning Oliver! (one of my all-time faves) when he made this comedic heist film with future schlockmeister Michael Winner. Almost impossible to see today, The Jokers is an interesting slice of swinging ’60s Cool Britannia that’s definitely worth a look (if you can find it). Michael Crawford and Reed play a pair of upper-class blokes in search of kicks. They decide to pull the biggest heist ever — stealing the Crown Jewels of course — and thanks to a loophole in English law, hope to get away with it by showing that they did not intend to “permanently deprive” the crown of its treasure. Of course this is precisely the type of movie that they could never get away with making these days. Crawford and Reed are really little more than “terrorists” blowing things up around London and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Amid the snappy music and freewheeling dialog, there’s a twist ending. Everything moves at a hare’s pace and although there aren’t really any bellylaughs, the proceedings are light enough to entertain. Still awaiting a proper video release, bootleg videos exist taken from television airings. A pivotal step in Ollie Reed’s rise to silver screen fame deserves better.