Million Dollar Countdown (1967)

aka Please Don’t Fire the Cannon, Per favore… non sparate col cannone
Article 2440 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-6-2007
Posting Date: 4-17-2008
Directed by Mario Caiano
Featuring Frank Wolff, Rossella Como, Giampiero Albertini

A safecracker just released from prison is hired by a mysterious man aboard a yacht to steal a secret missile defense system that causes missiles to return back to their launching point and explode. The safecracker hooks up with his old cohorts, and puts together a plan to get the secret.

I have to admit I have a fondness for caper movies, but I don’t cover them very often for this series because they so rarely slide into the genre areas that I’m covering. This one does, though, and though it’s not a great movie, it’s a good one and quite amusing. The fantastic content is, of course, the missile defense system. The caper itself requires the usual bizarre selection of accomplices and items; in this case, we have a cannon, an armored tank, LSD pills, and an exploding car. However, the caper hits some snags when the thieves have to contend with an attempt by a woman to murder her husband via an exploding thermos. The twists at the end are also quite amusing. What I like best about this film is simply that it isn’t an Italian comedy that drives me up the wall, as too many of them do, and even the dubbing doesn’t really hurt this one. Still, I find that a lot of Italian movies from the sixties and seventies have musical scores that do nothing for me, and I’m afraid this is the case here; the music mostly consists of women’s voice singing an a capella number with lots of la-la-las that sounds for all the world like it’s background music on a Christmas song.



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