It Takes a Thief

Season 3 Episode 4

The Great Casino Caper

Aired Tuesday 8:30 PM Oct 16, 1969 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Great Casino Caper
Wally wants Al to hit the Banco de Casino, where Eric the Red, the biggest all-night banker in the world, is passing counterfeit money. The S.I.A. wants to find the source of this money by forcing Redman to speed up his timetable for distribution. To even have a chance of pulling off the job, Al needs help from the greatest thief who ever lived, his father.moreless

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  • Milestone episode with an outstanding cast and Bond like fun.

    This is a fun, exciting, and milestone episode for "It Takes a Thief" episode.

    Adolfo Celi (Emilio Largo of the James Bond "Thunderball" movie) again plays the villain as Eric "the Red" Redman. His participation and the on-location filming in Europe immediately give the viewer a James Bond feel from the start of the episode. Adolfo Celi defines the super villain and immediately raises the level of the episode.

    Introducing the acting and dancing legend Fred Astaire as Alexander's Father, Alister Mundy, was a truly brilliant move by the producers. His performance was fun and made you want to believe from the beginning to the end. The performance by Robert Wagner and Fred Astaire left one convened they were Father and Son (if not here, in some parallel universe).

    As any loving Father, Alister Mundy looked after his Son by arranging a five point plan for his Son. In exchange for his services, the U.S. Government would provide Alexander:

    1 Full and complete pardon and clean criminal record

    2) No more threat of returning to prison

    3) Negotiate for his talents based upon the risks

    4) Keep him on a retainer - a base pay arrangement, as you would an attorney or any other professional man you don't need full time

    5) He has the right to refuse any assignment he feels is beneath the dignity of his station or is in way detrimental to his career.

    Honestly, the producers short changed themselves and the viewers by not turning this story line into a two part episode. This cast could do an "It Takes a Thief" mini-series or TV movie. The extended possibilities were, at the time, limitless.

    I can only hope Neal Caffrey, of White Collar, has a Father of the same caliber as Fred Astaire! It wasn't till I again watched this series I realized how White Collar is a remake of this ground breaking series. May the great aspects of this episode appear in White Collar and may it last for a decade or more.moreless
  • In short,Riviera casino.Millions to be swindled.Beautiful scenery,exciting nail-biting action and Fred Astaire to boot.Fast-moving simple plot.

    Reminiscent of Micheal Caine 60's Italian Job movie(without the cars).Italian casino,money begging to be heisted.Al's father(Fred Astaire)is needed to help do this job.Incredible,fantastic yet implausible scheme.Very cleverly Bond-esque in the Mundy's method of stealing the jackpot.Swift moving escapist plot.Nothing profound here ,but totally entertaining.Especially with 2 suave actors from 2 different eras(Wagner & Astaire) blending so beautifully together.You get the sense that they could make the dialogue up as they go along and it still would be seamless. Wagner actually shot a bunch of episodes in Italy to begin the 1969-1970 season.This is one of them.It probably cost more money and effort to shoot abroad in Italy in the late 1960's than (40 years later) to produce these ubiquitously cheap reality shows of today.Give R.J. and the producer of "Thief" credit....They wouldn't spend that kind of dough today on a 1 hour show.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The episode marks the end of Alexander Mundy prison sentence, criminal record, and his indentured servitude to the U.S. Government. As his Father's fee, the U.S. Government must agree to give Alexander:

      1) A full and complete pardon.
      2) No more threats about going back to jail.
      3) Negotiated fees based upon the risks.
      4) Retainer (base pay arrangement as one does with an attorney or other professional not needed on a full time basis).
      5) Last he has the right to refuse any assignment he feels is below the dignity of his station or detrimental to his career.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Fred Astaire appears in the opening credits and does the intro at the end which was done in the past by either Malachi Thorne or Robert Wagner. And what he says is "I heard of stealing from the government but for the government."