How it all Began...

The Italian Job was the brainchild of fashionable 60's small screen writer Troy Kennedy Martin. After making a name for himself at the BBC creating action packed programmes like Z-Cars, Troy went freelance.

Director Michael Deeley jokes with
Michael Caine on location in Turin

Whilst looking for inspiration for screenplay ideas Troy took a failed project that his brother Ian (also a television writer who went on to create The Sweeney which Troy worked on it too) had half developed. Ian's concept was a robbery set in London in a traffic jam. Troy took the idea & thought about re-working it so that it was set in Turin as he was aware of it's new computer controlled traffic centre. Troy was also fond of Italy as his sister worked in Rome and believed filming there would suit the script. The brothers came to an agreement that Troy would take over the project and a treatment for a script was soon written with the Mini already his first choice of getaway car.

After getting Michael Caine interested whilst stranded at LAX airport, Troy visited Turin and loved what he saw, malls and squares that would be ideal for the nimble British iconic Mini.

The Italian Job was made on a handshake from Charlie Bludhorn, then owner of Paramount studios, who Caine met whilst promoting Alfie, which was a Paramount picture. Bludhorn introduced himself to Caine as "The Man who just bought Paramount - have you got any films you want to make?"

With Paramount on board, they seeked out production company Oakhurst, run by Michael Deeley and Stanley Baker (Zulu). Baker wasn't particularly interested in the project, so Deeley & Paramount went looking for a director. Deeley wanted Peter Yates for his great work on Bullitt, but Charlie Bludhorn at Paramount wanted Peter Collinson and Bludhorn got his way.

Troy Kennedy Martin began polishing the script and after many re-workings it was finished. The actual finished film was distinctly different from his own slant on what the film should have been. Troy wanted a hard edged criminal underground type effect with a minimum amount of wit.

Pre-Production began in Turin and the team found that everyone wanted to help. Fiat were very welcoming & even tried to persuade the production team to use Fiats - offering as many as they needed and even tabling a hefty cash 'bonus' and a Ferrari. The offer was turned down, as the Mini was the star and it would have taken the 'British' element out of the whole theme. With Fiat's backing, Turin opened up - the whole place was dominated by Fiat. This was in stark contrast to BMC, the then makers of the Mini. They simply were not interested in helping out, and the best they could do was sell the production team six Mini's at trade price, the production team then had to buy 30 more at regular retail prices!

With Michael Caine on the cast list, director Collinson persuaded his godfather Noel Coward to take the role as Mr. Bridger. With these two great names on the billing it was a lot easier to find actors to fill the various roles. With a colourful cast and principle photography completed the film was well under way, despite it's meager budget.

Thankfully there was enough in the pot to get L'Equipe Remy Julienne on the job. Although having only worked on a few films Remy Julienne and his team of drivers and mechanics were recognised as the best stunt drivers around with a high level of professionalism with the film industry. They were a self contained unit who put an awful lot into the production of the stunts. They would try to accommodate any stunt, even making suggestions and planning every move with precision, a delicate touch and above all safety.

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Director Peter Collinson welcomes godfather Noel Coward on the prison set during filming in Ireland. Noel Coward had to be persuaded out of self-imposed exile in Switzerland to star in the film.

Collinson, was an orphan who had been adopted by Coward, who had paid for his education. Sadly, Coward wasn't in the best of health and had difficulties in learning his lines. It was to be his last film appearance.

Remy Julienne and his team brought magic to the film

'The Making of The Italian Job' book by Matthew Field is a great read and a must have for any fan.
Buy it

"Here, for the first time, is the official story of the making of the film from start to finish"

© Copyright 2005 The Italian