The “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon – Final Wrap-Up!

First, I want to extend my warmest thanks to all who participated in the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon. SO many great posts, and quite a few about films I’ve never seen–some I’ve never heard of! WOW! My viewing list has expanded a lot the last few days.

Go HERE for a complete list of posts with links.

Please check out these posts that did not make it into the daily recaps:

Cinematic Scribblings writes about Jerzy Skolimowski’s eccentric car-crazy protagonist in Le Départ.

Top 10 Film List pays tribute to one of noirs most manipulative femme fatales in a review of Criss-Cross.

Outspoken and Freckled believes the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair has the sexual tension the original lacked.

Thanks again to all! That’s a wrap!

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“It Takes a Thief” Blogathon – Day 3 Recap

Day 3 of our blogathon brings even more theft and mayhem!

Critica Retro writes about William Powell’s perfect counterpart to his Nick Charles persona in The Thin Man–The Robber in the pre-code film Jewel Robbery.

4 Star Films enjoys the unexpected levity in The Big Steal, the film that paired Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer again after their success with Out of the Past.

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society examines the bittersweet romance between a thief and an honest man in Remember the Night.

Thoughts All Sorts is engrossed by the slower pace of the heist movie Man on a Ledge.

Movierob is fascinated by the art of lifting wallets depicted in Robert Besson’s French New Wave film, Pickpocket.

Moon in Gemini finds the satire of upwardly-mobile Americans willing to steal to maintain their lifestyle prescient in Fun with Dick and Jane.

Random Pictures loves the mash-up of classic noir and 1970s-style filmmaking in Payback.

Bloggers: if you post late, no worries! I will do a round-up post of any last-minute entries in a day or two.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

“It Takes a Thief Bogathon”: Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)

This post is part of the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon, hosted by ME. Read the rest of the criminally good posts in this event HERE!

Crooks in classic films generally split into a couple of categories: either professional criminals, or people driven by desperate circumstances to commit crimes. There’s another subset where characters steal to get revenge.

Fun with Dick and Jane is a little bit different. Taking place during the recession of the late 1970s, it involves middle-class people who could probably chug along well enough until an economic uptick, but instead resort to crime to maintain their upwardly-mobile lifestyle.

Dick Harper (George Segal) is an aerospace executive who is stunned when his boss Charlie Blanchard (Ed McMahon) fires him. He and his wife Jane (Jane Fonda) at first think this is a mild blip in their lives, and forge ahead with building a pool in their backyard while planning very minor economies to their lifestyle.

Reality soon hits when Dick finds it difficult to get another job right away. Caught working for money under the table, Dick loses his unemployment. Pleas to Jane’s parents for a loan fall on deaf ears. Jane gets a low-paying job but they still need food stamps and the electricity is soon turned off. Desperate, they apply for a high-interest loan.

Gosh, this sounds like the making of a tragedy, doesn’t it? It’s far from it, though. Up to this point, the film is a razor-sharp satire of American middle class life and expectations. Dick is so clueless his Latino co-worker, who he barely spoke to at work, has to show him how to navigate the world unemployed. Their maid rolls her eyes when she overhears them blithely dismiss their situation. While having a meeting at home with a potential employer, a vendor they haven’t paid shows up with a bullhorn and insists on confiscating all their household plants, screaming “Deadbeat!”

While they are applying for the loan, the film takes a quick turn. Thieves show up to rob the loan company. When they run away from the cops, Jane manages to grab two thousand dollars of the stolen money. Rationalizing that the loan company has insurance, they keep it.

When that money is gone, Dick plans to commit a holdup. Jane insists on accompanying him. After several missteps, they successfully rip off an X-rated motel. Giddy with their success, they begin to regularly commit stick-ups. Soon their confiscated lawn and pool are restored and they are throwing big parties. All this spending leads them to plan one big score by robbing Dick’s former boss Charlie.

The film got mixed reviews when it first opened, but with the hindsight of the last 40 years of history, it seems close to prescient. It predicts the 1980s ruthless mentality in pursuit of money. (This is brought home most clearly in a scene where Jane throws money out of the car to stop pursuers and causes a riot which is reminiscent of the final scenes of the 1980s comedy Ruthless People.) It’s also possible to see it as a prototype for TV series like Breaking Bad and Weeds. Dick and Jane don’t commit crime so they can survive—they do it so they won’t look bad in front of the neighbors.

Segal and Fonda are terrific—they show both the love and frustration married people have with each other through clever banter usually reserved for romcoms. Some might complain that the movie makes their characters too likable, and that’s fair. But lets be honest, crime committed in the name of maintaining the American Dream is secretly admired by some. There are those who expect poor people to remain poor, and despise their situation because they assume it is one of their own making. Dick and Jane’s pseudo-poverty, on the other hand, is discomfiting.

The robbery scenes—both the failed and successful ones—are hilarious, especially when Dick tries to hold up a drug store and the pharmacist misunderstands what he wants. Another stand-out scene is when Jane tries to get a loan out of her parents, and all she gets is a lecture on self-reliance. Assuring Jane if they come through this without help they will be set for life, her mother declares as she leaves, “I’m so happy for you!”

One wonders if her parents would be proud of the way Dick and Jane relied on themselves to remain affluent members of the middle class.

The “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon – Day 2 Recap

Day 2 of the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon has yielded even more heinous activity by various thieves and other miscreants:

Film Noir Archive finds director Michael Mann established his archetypal lead character in his debut film Thief.

A Shroud of Thoughts gives a detailed overview of one of the most popular British TV series of the 1960s, The Saint.

Destroy All Fanboys enjoys the light tone of Jules Dassin’s caper film Topkapi.

Realweegiemidget Reviews was charmed by the Scottish film The Angels’ Share, about a group serving community payback who decide to steal some rare whiskey.

Liz Durano pays tribute to The Usual Suspects‘ ensemble cast and great twist ending.

Sometimes They Go to Eleven reviews one of the classic “thieves fall out” films, 1968’s The Split.

Love Letters to Old Hollywood contrasts and compares Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to the film it was based on, the rarely-seen Bedtime Story.

LA Explorer delights in the twists and turns in the plot of the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn film, Charade.

The Midnite Drive-In is not that surprised to discover the two early films versions of The Maltese Falcon can’t compare to the John Huston/Humphrey Bogart classic.

Please join us tomorrow for Day 3!

The “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon – Day 1 Recap

Day 1 of the It Takes a Thief Blogathon and we already have a wealth of great posts!

MovieMovieBlogBlog declares that Woody Allen steals the show in his first feature film Take the Money and Run.

Silver Screenings takes a vacation with Cary Grant in her review of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief.

The Story Enthusiast credits Ernst Lubitsch with introducing the suave international thief in his film Trouble in Paradise.

The INCspotlight covers Michael Crichton’s adaptation of his own novel, The Great Train Robbery.

Sat in Your Lap believes the cult film Twilight’s Last Gleaming is one of the hidden gems of the 1970s.

CineMaven’s Essays From the Couch falls hard for Jean Gabin while viewing the French caper film Touchez Pas au Grisbi.

Midnite Drive-In reveals a preference for George Sanders out of the three actors who played Batman’s Mr. Freeze in the 1960s television series.

The Stop Button considers The Friends of Eddie Coyle a good but flawed film.

Caftan Woman conveys how You and Me is an unusual blend of romance, melodrama, and crime story.

Totally Filmi reviews Sapthamashree Thaskaraha (Seven Good Thieves), a Malayalam film about a group of men who meet in prison and plan a heist.

Movies Silently takes advantage of a rare opportunity to view and review 1928’s Alias Jimmy Valentine.

Wide Screen World finds Tom Hanks miscast in the lead role of Road to Perdition but otherwise likes this adaptation of the graphic novel.

Join us tomorrow for more thievery and other kinds of mayhem!

The “It Take a Thief” Blogathon is Here!

The “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon has arrived!

Bloggers:

When your post goes live, leave the URL for your post in the comments section here or under the original announcement post. You may also send it to me via Twitter. My handle is @DebbieVee.

I will do daily recaps, but will also collect all the URLs in this post as they come in. You may link your post to this one so people who read yours can find the other posts.

Remember, you may post any day during the blogathon: Friday, November 17 – Sunday, November 19. If you’re running a little late, no problem! I will do an update on any posts that come in later than Sunday.

Looking forward to a great event!

THE MASTER LIST OF POSTS:

MovieMovieBlogBlog: Take the Money and Run

Silver Screenings: To Catch a Thief

The Story Enthusiast: Trouble in Paradise

The INCspotlight: The Great Train Robbery (1979)

Sat in Your Lap: Twilight’s Last Gleaming

CineMaven’s Essays From the Couch: Touchez Pas au Grisbi

Midnite Drive-In: Batman’s Mr. Freeze, All three film adaptations of Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon

The Stop Button: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Caftan Woman: You and Me

Totally Filmi: Sapthamashree Thaskaraha “Seven Good Thieves”

Movies Silently: Alias Jimmy Valentine

Wide Screen World: Road to Perdition

Film Noir Archive: Thief (1981)

A Shroud of Thoughts: The Saint (1963 – 1969)

Destroy All Fanboys!: Topkapi

Realweegiemidget Reviews: The Angels’ Share

Liz Durano: The Usual Suspects

Sometimes They Go to Eleven: The Split

Love Letters to Old Hollywood: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

LA Explorer: Charade

Critica Retro: Jewel Robbery

4 Star Films: The Big Steal

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Remember the Night

Thoughts All Sorts: Man on a Ledge

Movierob: Pickpocket

Moon in Gemini: Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)

Random Pictures: Payback

Cinematic Scribblings: Le Départ

Top 10 Film List: Criss-Cross

Outspoken & Freckled: The Thomas Crown Affair

 

Reminder: the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon Starts Soon!

There’s still plenty of time to sign up for the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon! It begins Friday, November 17 and runs through Sunday, November 19.

If you want to join in, leave a comment here or under the original post, or contact me on Twitter (my handle is @DebbieVee).

Looking forward to reading your posts on thievery in film!

Announcing the “It Takes a Thief” Blogathon!

Time for a new blogathon! I am inviting you to write about thievery in films.

The caper, the heist, kidnappings, great escapes, con artists, high-class jewel thieves, art forgers, hungry peasants stealing bread, in any genre–all will be accepted!

You many write about films from any era from any area of the world.

You may also write about television shows, either those featuring a thief as a main character (for instance, Remington Steele or White Collar) or individual episodes featuring thievery (the “Dead Freight” episode of Breaking Bad or “The Train Job” episode of Firefly).

This is a very expansive topic, so my only rule is no duplicates, unless it’s two versions of the same story (i.e. the two versions of The Lavender Hill Mob).

The blogathon will run Friday, November 17 – Sunday, November 19. You may post any day (or earlier, if you wish).

To claim your topic, please request your choice in the comments section below, or contact me on Twitter (@DebbieVee). Include the name and URL of your blog. Then grab one of the banners below, display it on your blog and link it back to this post.

Thanks for joining in!

THE ROSTER SO FAR:

Moon in Gemini: Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)

MovieMovieBlogBlog: Take the Money and Run (1969)

Cinematic Scribblings:  Le Départ (1967)

lifesdailylessonsblog: How to Steal a Million (1966)

Liz Durano: The Usual Suspects (1995)

Realweegiemidget Reviews: The Angels’ Share (2012)

Movies Silently: Alias Jimmy Valentine (1929)

The Stop Button: The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

B Noir Detour: Comparison of The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and Rififi (1955)

Once Upon a Screen: The Killing (1956)

Silver Screenings: To Catch a Thief (1955)

Outspoken and Freckled: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Caftan Woman: You and Me (1938)

A Shroud of Thoughts: The Saint (1962 – 1969)

Destroy All Fanboys!: Topkapi (1964)

Cinematic Catharsis: White Heat (1949)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Remember the Night (1940)

Critica Retro: Jewel Robbery (1932)

Peyton’s Classics: The Devil’s Brother (1933)

CineMaven’s Essays From the Couch: Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)

The Midnite Drive-In: The Maltese Falcon (1931) and Satan Met a Lady (1936); the three actors who played Mr. Freeze in the classic Batman TV series (1966 – 1968)

Wide Screen World: Road to Perdition (2o02)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Dreaming in the Balcony: Arsène Lupin (1932)

Thoughts All Sorts: Man on a Ledge (2012)

Film Noir Archive: Thief (1981)

Top 10 Film Lists: Criss Cross (1949)

The Story Enthusiast: Trouble in Paradise (1932)

It Came From the Man Cave!: JCVD (2008)

Sat In Your Lap: Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977)

Random Pictures: Payback (1999)

Sometimes They Go to Eleven: The Split (1968)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: Grand Hotel (1932)

LA Explorer: Charade (1963)

Silver Screen Classics: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Totally Filmi: Sapthamashree Thaskaraha “Seven Good Thieves” (2014)

4 Star Films: The Big Steal (1949)