Friday, 23 January 2009

Pointless Prattle: The Ending for the Italian Job

It’s Friday, so it must be time for some pointless prattle from me.

The BBC have an on their website under their “Also In The News” category that caught my attention this morning. Apparently, the Royal Society of Chemistry have been running a competition inviting people to provide a solution to the ending of the film, “The Italian Job”.

The Italian Job ends with the characters in a coach full of gold bullion bars that is hanging precariously over a cliff. The characters are in the front end of the coach and the gold is at the back end, hanging over the cliff, and the coach is rocking gently back and forth. The final line is uttered by Michael Caine’s character, “Charlie”, who informs everyone that nobody should move and that he has a plan. We as the audience never get to know what that plan is as the film then pans out to see the coach balancing over the cliff and then cuts to the credits.

Setting aside the debate as to whether this is a worthwhile distribution of time and resources by the Royal Society of Chemistry, on a more fundamental level I don’t think this is news. I don’t mean that in the sense of “this isn’t about anything that is important”, far from it as my favorite parts of the news are the pointless irreverent bits. What I mean is that this isn’t news in the sense that I’ve heard the winning solution before.

The winning solution to the end of the film involves draining the fuel of the coach so that it balances out and they can get the gold off the cliff safely. I am ninety-nine percent certain that Michael Caine himself came up with that solution and wanted to use it as the starting point for the sequel. I recall seeing or at least hearing about an interview with him whereby he claimed that he did genuinely have an idea, as his character says, and the opening to the sequel would involve them draining the fuel, but that a gust of wind would carry the coach off the cliff anyway. After that, they’d get to the bottom of the cliff and find the gold had been stolen by bandits, whom they would then have to chase for the rest of the film.

There was probably a very good reason for never making the desired sequel and there is every possibility that I’ve imagined this, but as I say, I’m certain that I’ve heard the solution before. If this rings any bells with anyone else, please let me know!

Additional Notes:

The source of this is information is here. It’s actually quite an amusing read, especially the solution given by one of the children that entered the competition involving frogs.

The posts for this week, in case you have missed them, have been as follows:

The Benefits of Part Time Studying for Graduates

Control and When to Give Up

The Fallacy of University

Making Use of Wasted Time with Computer Games

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Fighting Cliche in Creativity

David Hing and the Antique Washing Machine

The Problems with Preparing for Exams

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