To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic film, ‘The Italian Job’, Classics on the Road and the Jaguar E-type Club have created an exciting tour which follows the movie route, driving through eastern and northern France to Turin and then on to Switzerland.
The Italian Job is a 1969 British ‘caper’ film about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam. Written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson, the film has become a classic.
The soundtrack to the film was composed by Quincy Jones and includes ‘On Days Like These’ sung by Matt Monro over the opening credits. ‘Getta Bloomin’ Move On (usually referred to as ‘The Self Preservation Society’) was sung during the climactic care chase. Michael Caine was one of the singers.
The line ‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody door off’ spoken by Caine, was voted favourite film one-liner in a poll of 1,000 film fans in 2003 and in 1999 the film was ranked 23 on the BFI’s Top 100 British Films.
For those who are unfamiliar with the film, do read the following synopsis:
Charlie Croker is released from prison. He meets up with the widow of his friend and fellow thief Roger Beckermann, who has been killed by the Mafia while driving a Lamborghini Miura in the Italian Alps. Mrs Beckermann gives Croker her husband's plans for the robbery that attracted the hostile attention of his killers, which detail a way to steal $4 million in gold in the city of Turin and escape to Switzerland.
Croker breaks back into his former prison to convince the powerful crime lord Mr. Bridger to finance the plan. Bridger, who has bribed almost all of the prison guards to work for him, initially rejects the plan, but changes his mind after he learns Fiat is set to build a new factory in China.
With Bridger's backing, Croker recruits computer expert Professor Peach and a team of thieves and drivers. The plan calls for Peach to replace the programme in the computer that controls Turin's traffic control system, creating a paralysing traffic jam that will allow the thieves to escape with the gold in three Mini Cooper getaway cars.
After planning and training, Croker, his girlfriend Lorna, and the heist crew set out for Turin. Mafia boss Altabani and his underlings are waiting in the Alps at the same pass where they killed Beckermann. Altabani warns Croker that the Mafia are aware of the gang's intentions and smashes their Jaguar Etype cars, sending Croker's personal Aston Martin DB4 drophead off a cliff. Just as Altabani is about to give the order to shoot the gang, Croker tells him that Mr. Bridger will avenge their deaths by driving Italian merchants in selected Britain cities out of business. Altabani lets them go, ordering them to return to England. Instead, they proceed with the plan, replacing the traffic control system's magnetic tape data storage reels. On the day of the robbery, Croker sends gang member Birkinshaw, disguised as a football fan, to jam the closed circuit television cameras that monitor traffic. The substitute data reel then causes widespread traffic chaos. The gang converge on the gold convoy, overpower the guards, and tow the armoured car into the entrance hall of the Museo Egizio. There, the gang transfer the gold to the Minis. Altabani recognises that "If they planned this jam, they must have planned a way out." Pursued by the Turin police, the three Minis race through the shopping arcades of the city, speed down stairs, jump between rooftops, and finally escape the traffic jams by a pre-planned route across a weir. The getaway is timed perfectly, and they throw off the police by driving through a large sewer pipe. As Mr. Bridger receives the cheers and adulation of his fellow prison inmates, the gang drive the Minis into the back of a moving customised coach. They then unload the gold and dispose of the Minis by pushing them off the mountainside.
The rest of the gang, having sneaked out of the city in a minibus while disguised as football supporters, rendezvous with the coach in the Alps. On the looping mountain roads, driver "Big" William loses control of the coach. The back of the bus is left teetering over a cliff and the gold slides towards the rear doors. As Croker attempts to reach the gold, it slips further. The film finishes on a literal cliff-hanger with Croker announcing: "Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea".
There a several celebratory tours to Italy this year, but none will surpass the content of the ‘Ultimate Italian Job Tour’.
Participants on the tour may well believe that they are stepping into the shoes of the actors of this iconic movie as they experience first-hand many of the scenes that appear in the film. The adventure is enhanced by the on-tour presence of Matthew Field, ‘Italian Job’ expert and author of ‘The Self Preservation Society – 50 years of The Italian Job’ (to be published by Porter Press International during 2019).
‘Star Cars’ from the film will be participating in the Tour, from the original E-type (now owned by Philip Porter) to the original Lamborghini Miura and Aston Martin DB4. Iconic red, white and blue Minis will be accompanying drivers and co-drivers as they navigate the former Fiat factory roof, now the Lingotto Hotel, where the party will stay for three nights whilst experiencing the delights of the historic city of Turin.
Celebrities from the film who will be with us in Turin, include Oscar-winning film Producer Michael Deeley, actor David Salamone (‘Dominic’) and Stunt Director Rémy Julienne. Actor, Robert Powell (‘Yellow’) has expressed an interest in joining the tour – more news on that another time.
The adventure sits alongside truly outstanding touring, encompassing drives through some of the most beautiful areas of France, Italy and Switzerland. Enjoy the city of Reims with its awesome cathedral; the wildlife sanctuaries of Orient Regional Forest, Lorraine and Vosges du Nord Natural Parks together with Mont Blanc and much more.
The cars will first meet at Château Tilques near St Omer in northern France. The Château was built in 1891 and occupies the site of a former 17th Century mansion. The hotel is a prime example of neoFlemish architecture and is set in beautiful grounds. Day One includes a visit to Reims (for the best champagne!) and the Vranken-Pommery Monopole cellars. The Gothic cathedral in Reims is a mustsee. En route to Turin, Arc-et-Senans Royal Saltworks and Divonne les Bains are on the itinerary.
Three nights in Turin at the Lingotto Hotel will really encapsulate the ‘Italian Job’ experience. In this entrancing city, you will enjoy a Walking Tour of the film locations, meet the film celebrities for a Q&A evening, attend a private screening of the Italian Job film and have a chance to explore this historic city.
On leaving Turin, the cars will make their way into the Alps for an unforgettable two-day experience. The Aosta Valley, the Saint Bernard Pass and the Dardanelli Viaduct are iconic scenes from the film, including the locations of where the Lamborghini Miura, the Aston Martin and the E-types met their fate. Tour participants will be thrilled by a trip on the Skyway of Mont Blanc, before leaving the Alps for a final couple of days in France and the final Gala Dinner at the Château Tilques.