Screengrab: When Pete met Audrey

Let’s go back to the swinging sixties with O’Toole and Hepburn, says Richard Lutz.

screengrab 1955_Television_advertising_4934882110Somewhere between playing Henry II in the movie Becket and playing Henry II (again)  in Lion In Winter, Peter O’Toole -aka Lawrence of Arabia -slummed it a bit and teamed up with La Audrey for How to Steal A Million> (Thursday, 3.50AM, Sky Movies Drama).

Hepburn was decked out in Givenchy and sunglasses. Pete was in a sharp skinny suit with a constant smirk splattered over his handsome face. They were a great screen couple and this 1966 film is about as slick, cute and watchable as they come for the decade that spawned elemental stuff like Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt and Bonnie and Clyde.

The plot is about an art forger who wants his fakes stolen back by his daughter and… and… well, that’s all you really have to know because the rest of the script is cotton candy-light, fluffy, charming, meaningless and what would have passed for minutely risque.

But it summed up an era before Hollywood got really nasty with a default switch aimed at the sexual, the violent and the mean.

It is an easy movie with well lit interiors, frisky dialogue and great shots of Paris. William Wyler directed. And he would have known what he was doing because he’d been behind the camera for 40 years when he picked up this job.

La Hep

La Hep

O’Toole is elegant as a museum thief, Audrey Hepburn is gamine, sophisticated and a move star deluxe.

There is great lighthearted support from Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith and French crooner Charles Boyer to give it that Gaulois-laden effect.

And to show you how Hollywood honours its heroes: Hepburn was nominated four times for an Oscar and won two (once posthumously); Wyler won four Academy Awards (though obviously not for this throwaway film) and O’Toole got nary a sniff at a gold statue to take home and use as a bottle opener or doorstop.