Love Among Thieves (1987) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Love Among Thieves (1987)

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You're Audrey Hepburn. Internationally renowned. Fashion icon. Screen legend. Your absence from film is more noticeable than the films you've been doing. What's next?

Star in a TV movie? Sure, why not.

Love Among Thieves is a breezy and surprisingly fun television movie that is a throwback to some of Hepburn's greatest roles-- think Charade or How to Steal a Million.

The plot is about a gaggle of thieves and con men who plot and scheme over a trio of Faberge eggs. Hepburn is the Baroness Caroline DuLac, a professional pianist struggling with a big secret: her fiance has been kidnapped. After she nabs the eggs from a museum shortly before a concert (which is about as silly as it sounds), she heads down to Mexico to trade them for her lover's freedom.

Complications ensue (as they must) as Hepburn finds herself pursued by a man in a trench coat and being stuck with a rogue named Mike. He likes cigars, beer, and roughing it through the wilds of Mexico with an annoyed Baroness in tow.

Mike is played by Robert Wagner, a veteran TV actor famous for the "Hart to Hart" series. He's about the same age of Hepburn and appeared to have shared many of the same sensibilities. Wagner's brutish and charming-- not  Cary Grant by any stretch, but still a good match.

He also has a hell of a beard.

The best scenes in the movie are early on, with Hepburn and Wagner tossing one liners and gags like the old pros they are. The plot, when they start to dive in, is both deathly predictable and entirely too serious.

I know it's unfair to complain that television movies are formulaic, but it's a shame that it's about two levels of polish away from being a real gem; we get the obvious twists, but never the next level that reflects the utter silliness of the plot beneath. I mean, come on, she's a concert pianist and brilliant thief who fights off some bandidos and foils a trio of conniving con men with nothing more than some luck and the ability to zig zag away from bullets; why end with such rote revelations for the villains?

There are other flaws, from its not all too nice portrayals of Mexicans to the idiocy of the villains, who, despite their big North by Northwest-esque house, don't really have a solid grasp on how or when to properly kill and murder people.

Also, being a TV movie, they shoot some stuff that looks pretty rather than makes sense; when Wagner and Hepburn drive north to escape Mexico, it's kind of amazing that they end up coming in across the Golden Gate bridge into San Francisco on the way back.

"I don't care if you buy this or not, it's simply too much fun."

Like a lot of con game movies-- I'm thinking Nine Queens, The Lady Eve, the filmography of David Mamet, among others previously mentioned-- Love Among Thieves tries creates an elaborate puzzle to unwind.

While it probably says more about what's acceptable prime time fair for ABC in the late 80's than anything deep about the human condition, it is an amiable time with some good acting. Hepburn still has that same twinkle in her eye, though she lacks the energy she used to throw into the her parts. This would be her last starring role, and as a swan song to the mischievous pictures of her youth, it's a nice coda.

Next week, Always and a nice long wrap up from me. See you in seven!

Audrey Hepburn Sundays

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Posted by Danny

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