Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

The Sharif loses out to "The Burglars"

Cleveland Press August 4 1972

"The Burglars" is playing at local theaters. Crime drama; adults, older teens. In the cast are Jean-Paul Belmondo, Omar Sharif, Dyan Cannon, Robert Hossein. Running time: 117 minutes.

At one point the detective jumps into a cab and yells: Follow that trolley car." For anyone w h o has ever longed for someone to say that line "The Burglars" might be interesting.

I liked the line but I found the surrounding material awfully inflated. "The Burglars" is filled with time killing scenes, scenes that exist for their own sake and in other cases for no reason at all.

Jean-Paul Belmondo is the head of a ring of burglars who make off with a million dollars in emeralds. Omar Sharif is a sadistic cop on their trail. Sometimes he wants the gems for himself. At other times he just wants to throw Belmondo in jail.

"THE BURGLARS" commits its own kind of theft by stealing certain scenes that have figured in other crime caper films, but figured in them with some point. In "The Burglars" they are pointless.

Thus the break-in is a lengthy affair without generating any proportionate suspense. There is a long involved, and superbly done auto chase scene through the narrow streets of Athens (the setting for the film) but there turns out to be no reason for it.

What passes for witty repartee goes on and on, sometimes at gunpoint, at other moments over a multi-course Greek dinner. Interested in the virtues of stuffed vine leaves? Even if you are, this is hardly the place for it.

There is even a lengthy seduction scene that never gets around to the seduction.

THIS HAS Dyan Cannon in a cameo role, that of a temptress in scenes loaded with innuendo. This seems to be her specialty And I'm beginning to wonder if her lengthy laugh is dubbed.

Belmondo scores as a lovable rascal. He is superbly athletic as ever, doing an amazing number of stunts without the aid of a double.

He leaps to catch a trolley, hangs on to the outside, transfers to another. He jumps from the roof of one to make his way by leaping from one automobile roof to another. The movie exploits Belmondo's particular talent quite well.

Sharif at one point is given a chance to mount a horse. He sits a horse well. That is about all he does well. In a long series of wooden performances this one is the most splintery yet.