Sidney Carroll’s original story has been adapted into a zesty laugh-getter as MacLaine becomes Miss Malaprop in Caine’s scheme to loot the art treasures of mid-East potentate Herbert Lom. An idealized swindle sequence lasting 27 minutes opens pic, after which the execution of the plan shifts all characterizations and sympathies.
Director Ronald Neame has obtained superior characterizations from all hands. MacLaine, playing a Eurasian gal, displays her deft comedy abilities after the opening segment, in which she is stone-faced and silent. Caine socks over a characterization which is at first tightlipped and cold, then turning warm with human and romantic frailty.
Lom is excellent as the potentate, so assured of his security devices that audience sympathy encourages the machinations of Caine and MacLaine.
1966: Nominations: Best Color Costume Design, Color Art Direction, Sound