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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Silver Bears (1978)

An international crime caper full of crosses and double crosses set in Las Vegas, Switzerland and Iran. A mafia boss (Martin Balsam) hires a front man (Michael Caine) to purchase a bank in Switzerland to house mafia money. Caine invests in a silver mine in Iran owned by a brother and sister (Stephane Audran, David Warner). Meanwhile, a large American bank becomes interested in purchasing the bank and sends its agent, a conservative banker (Tom Smothers) to buy it. How all three story threads intertwine form the crux of the story. The Czech director Ivan Passer (LOVES OF A BLONDE) doesn't have the light touch needed to successfully pull a glamorous international caper like this off. The screenwriter Peter Stone is certainly capable of writing witty, glamorous affairs like this as he has previously shown in his scripts for CHARADE and ARABESQUE but Passer is no Stanley Donen. A film like this needs sparkle and fizz but instead of champagne, we get a dry sherry. Still, I've seen worse. With Cybill Shepherd, Louis Jourdan, Joss Ackland, Charles Gray and a very young Jay Leno as Balsam's clueless son.

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