Grand Slam / Ad ogni costo (1967)

2.5 out of 5

This slow-starter from Paramount aspires to be a diamond heist thriller of the Rififi/Ocean’s Eleven school but falls short. Edward G. Robinson, a retiring English professor in Rio de Janeiro, appears onscreen just long enough to assemble a team of European professionals to loot the diamond company he’s been drooling over from his classroom window.

Despite the unexpected challenge of penetrating the newly installed “Grand Slam” safe, wooden dialogue and a lack of distinguishing traits among the four recruits prevent the caper from ever heating up. Most of the conflict is generated by parachutist Klaus Kinski, who inexplicably bullies playboy Robert Hoffman throughout. The latter’s woo skills are needed to obtain a security key from the diamond company’s icy secretary, Janet Leigh—a humdrum affair.

All could be forgiven if the third-act heist had any measure of suspense. Besides a few snags, some nifty gadgets and a surprise ending, the only fireworks in the plot come from Rio’s Carnaval celebration outside.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics