Monday, January 24, 2011

Favourite movies: Who's Minding the Mint? (1967)


I consider Who's Minding the Mint? THE 1960s comedy. Directed by that certifiable genius Howard Morris, it is fast and funny with a marvelous premise, witty lines, and sight-gags that are impeccably set-up and pulled off by a director who knows funny and a fine ensemble cast.


Walter Brennan, Jim Hutton
Shopping for a safe cracker in prison

Jim Hutton is Treasury worker Harry Lucas, a fellow who knows all the angles. After working hours he lives the life of a minor playboy on no budget by scamming department stores. A workplace superior, played with officious glee by David J. Stewart, suspects Harry of criminal methods and Harry is up against it when he accidentally loses $50,000. However, it shouldn't be too difficult to replace the lost bills with the help of retired printer "Pop" Gillis played by Walter Brennan, who aches to get his hands on the presses.


Victor Buono
"Captain"

Questions arise as to how to get the plates, how to get into the building, how to cut the bills, et cetera and before he knows what's happening Harry is the leader of a gang with designs on more than replacing $50,000. Milton Berle oozes larceny out of every pore as a self-appointed "manager". Bob Denver is adorable as a would-be ladies man teamed with Jackie Joseph as a bohemian who may be more than he can handle. Victor Buono is outstanding as an outlandishly accented "ship's captain". Joey Bishop is dry and funny as a gambler and Jamie Farr shines as his non-English speaking cousin. Pretty Dorothy Provine, the go-to gal of 60s comedy, is a nice girl who'd do anything for Harry. And what could go wrong when you have a deaf safe cracker played by Jack Gilford?

Adding to the fun is Lalo Schifrin's sprightly score reminiscent of his famous Mission Impossible theme.


Joey Bishop, Jack Gilford
What could possibly go wrong?


Victor Buono, Jack Gilford, Bob Denver, Milton Berle, Jim Hutton
The gang celebrates.
Aren't you dying to know why Berle is dressed that way?


Who's Minding the Mint? is a movie that keeps me chuckling and laughing throughout its tidy 97 minutes. I'm sure it will do the same for you.

4 comments:

  1. I've never seen it. I usually pay less attention to the newer stuff (I guess you know you're getting old -- or just badly in need of fresh perspective -- when something from over 40 years ago is still "new"), but I'll keep a lookout for it.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean about "newer" stuff. Perhaps it will take away some of the sting to know that "Who's Minding the Mint?" is scheduled on TCM for January 30 in prime time at 10:00 o'clock.

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  3. I haven't seen this movie in years and would love to revisit it again. The cast was awesome!

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  4. I picked up the VHS tape of "Who's Minding the Mint?" as soon as I spotted it in a shop. You're right about that cast. As my hubby says, you can't go wrong with Dorothy Provine!

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