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Michael Caine refused to promote The Italian Job for an absurd reason

Michael Caine refused to promote one of his best movies for a very particular reason, and as a result, the thriller ended up completely flopping in America.


The Italian Job might be one of Michael Caine‘s best movies, but in a 2016 chat show appearance, the actor admitted that he refused to promote the year’s best comedy movie when it was first released in 1969.

The classic heist movie, which Peter Collinson directed, follows hapless criminals Charlie Croker (Caine) and John Bridger (Noel Coward) as they assemble a team to steal a shipment of gold bullion from the streets of Turin by causing a traffic jam.

In the years since its release, The Italian Job has come to be identified as a cult classic. It has even been the subject of several remakes — including a ‘2000s movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. However, the caper movie never saw much success in America, and during an interview with Jonathan Ross, Caine admitted that he may well have been the reason for this.

Namely, he refused to promote the film overseas because he objected to its poster, which depicted a man with a machine gun standing next to a naked woman.

“I said, ‘Men who want to see naked women will walk out and women with children won’t go see it,’” he recalled. “I never publicised the movie, and so it died in America.”

One reason The Italian Job has become so infamous through the years is because of its (literal) cliffhanger ending. While the adventure movie‘s lack of box office success meant a sequel never happened, Caine did reveal what happened next after that cliffhanger, and what a potential Italian Job sequel would’ve looked like.

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“What happened was, we were in the south of France. We switched on the engine, ran it for several hours. The gold was at one end and we were at the other,” he told Ross. “The engine ran out of petrol so the balance went alright. We got out of the coach and then the weight of the gold once we were out pushed it over the edge. Waiting at the bottom of the cliff was the French mafia, and they ran off with it and the sequel was we chaise them through the Riviera.”

Caine’s new movie, The Great Escaper, will land in theatres on October 6. If you’re after more comedic capers, keep an eye out for Deadpool 3, or, be sure to check out our listicle of the best comedy series of all time.

You can also find out more about the best-performing films with our guide to the highest-grossing movies of all time, or despair over more frustrating cliff-hangers with our guide to the best plot twists in movie history.