to Steal a Masterpiece
Jack Lord had to direct it, for no especial reason but to deliver the joke. This is Huston’s Moulin Rouge “expurgated, accelerated, improved and reduced” to Fatata te Miti for color and movement (the painting is credited over the outrigger) alone.
Here is the racket. A painting is stolen from a great collection, held for ransom at a price well below its market value, and when the ransom is paid a forgery is returned. There is a significant controversy over the years that pass until, lo, someone proves the inauthenticity of the object by producing the real thing, abracadabra.
Thus reputations are made, fortunes traded, and time spent in the pursuit of art. Here you have it in one hour minus commercials, and with Michael Anderson, Jr. (talking American), George Voskovec (fluent French), Gail Strickland and Luther Adler.
The Bells Toll at Noon
The graveside chat might come from Ford, the girl has died of a heroin overdose, the bereaved is a movie buff. He entertains with impressions, all the while entertaining a plan for vengeance against the dealers and distributors responsible.
McGarrett deduces the plan at an editing table in the projection room of a Honolulu movie house, where Cagney is on the bill. He has just been walked through the “falling mummy” scene, complete with a Victrola playing “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. A sniper’s bullet fells another man on the steps of a church (The Roaring Twenties, The Public Enemy).
White Heat is the big finish. An acrophobic druglord is dragged weeping up the stairs of a giant storage tank. McGarrett and a phalanx of police officers below can’t return fire, but the buff is persuaded to descend. “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” he sings and dances, before surrendering.