How to Steal a Million

Synopsis: Nicole's father, a legendary art collector, lends his prized Cellini Venus to a prestigious Paris museum. Unfortunately, the Venus was *not* sculpted by Cellini but by Nicole's grandfather. (Her father is a forger as well, but his specialty is paintings.) Before tests can be done which would prove the Venus a fake, Nicole enlists the services of "society burglar" Simon Demott to steal the million dollar statue.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Romance
Director(s): William Wyler
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
  1 nomination.
 
IMDB:
7.6
Rotten Tomatoes:
100%
APPROVED
Year:
1966
123 min
343 Views


Sold. $90,000 to this gentleman in front of me just here. Thank you, sir. And now, ladies and gentlemen... number 34 on the front cover of your catalogues. Color plate 16. Portrait of Madame de Nemours by Czanne. Now, because of the interest in this painting... we are keeping telephone lines open to our buyers in London and New York. This great painting is from the world-famous Bonnet collection... sold by order of the present head of the family... Monsieur Charles Bonnet. Now ladies and gentlemen... who will start this superb Postimpressionist masterpiece... at $200,000? $210,000. $220,000! $230,000. Thank you. Now who says $240,000? Thank you very much. Who says $240,000? Thank you. $260,000. $270,000. ...equal the record in the coming three months. And now, in the world of art... in an auction of notable Impressionist masterpieces... the highest price paid was for a Czanne portrait... from the great private collection of Charles Bonnet... sold after spirited bidding for $515,000. The buyer, himself a notable art collector... Good evening. Evening, mademoiselle. Is my father home? He is upstairs. Shall I tell him? No, thank you. I'll go up. Papa! Hello, my darling! Hello, Papa. Careful. I'm covered with paint. And with money. I heard all about the auction on the radio. We've got to have a long, serious talk. My dear angel, it was a triumph. I could have sold a dozen Czannes on the spot. When is enough more than enough? This has got to stop. One moment. How kind of van Gogh to use only his first name. I can sign him in half the time. There. Perfect! Not again, Papa? So soon? This long-lost masterpiece will not be for sale for a long time. We'll hang it. It'll be admired. Who knows? In time, some legendary tycoon... may be able to persuade me to part with it. - You're such a scoundrel. - Thank you, my child. Nicole! My dirt. This is not ordinary dirt. It is van Gogh dirt. I mean dirt from his own neighborhood. I scraped it myself off these old 19th-century canvases. Like this. It took me weeks. A nice touch of authenticity, don't you think? I doubt if van Gogh himself would've gone to such pains with his works. He didn't have to. He was van Gogh. But you know that in his whole lifetime, he only sold one painting. Whereas I, in loving memory of his great tragic genius... have already sold two. Papa, I keep telling you... when you sell a fake masterpiece, that is a crime. I don't sell to the poor. I only sell them to millionaires and they get great paintings like this one. Papa! Police! What a shock you gave me. It's the director of the Klber-Lafayette Museum. Come about our Cellini Venus. What about the Venus? Our Cellini Venus is to be the outstanding feature... of a great loan exhibition, Masterpieces of French Collections. Not in public, Papa! Yes. Come along. No! Wait a minute. You can't let it out of the house. Don't fuss. But, Papa, this is insane. I'm coming, Monsieur Grammont. Take your time. - I beg you. Listen to me. - Do you see any paint anywhere? Do I smell of paint? I beg of you, will you listen to me? The Cellini Venus is a fake. That's a word we don't use in this house. It's too dangerous. I can't let you do this. Papa, will you listen to me? Stop spraying and... All right. Come along, you'll like Monsieur Grammont. He's impeccably honest and extremely dull. My dear Grammont. How kind of you to come in person. Good evening, Bonnet. My pleasure, I can assure you. Marcel, the doors. Allow me to present my daughter, Nicole. Delighted, mademoiselle. Good evening. There she is. Allow me. I remember it as a work of art, but it is more. My friend, I express my own and the museum's gratitude... for your generous loan, and I thank you on behalf of France itself... for never letting this treasure leave the country. I know of the offers you must have had and how tempting they must have been. One is, after all, always a Frenchman. I'll get it for you. No. Please. Look, Papa, let me help you. Into your hands... - my dear Grammont... - Me? ...I give this, our ultimate treasure. Papa, what have you done? The room doesn't look the same without her. What have I done? I'm giving the world an opportunity of studying and viewing the Cellini Venus. Which is not by Cellini. Labels! It's working with the Americans... that's given you this obsession with labels and brand names. I wish you'd give up that ridiculous job. Don't you know you can't fake sculpture anymore? It's not like painting. I know about their so-called tests. Papa, they are not so-called. They are! One quick whiff of something called potassium argon... and they can tell the age of the stone, where it was quarried, when it was cut... and the name and address of the man who did it. Why do you suppose I haven't sold it? I was offered recently... It gives me a twinge when I think of it. I was offered $1,000,000. But I won't sell it. I don't even charge rent. So, why should they test it? Did you hear Grammont say They'll be mailed all over the world. Our Venus! Don't you feel a kind of thrilling glow in that? Chills run up and down my spine. The basic trouble with you is that you're honest. I don't say that to hurt your feelings. I get dizzy spells when we have these conversations, Papa. What you need is a brandy. My darling, what you must understand is that I am pleased and proud... that our Cellini Venus is a forgery. If it were genuine, what would it be? A piece of sculpture made centuries ago by some over-sexed Italian. But our Cellini Venus is really our own. So, be proud of it. Your own grandfather made it, and your own grandmother posed for it. For months she stood without moving a muscle... while your grandfather perpetuated her in marble. That was, naturally, before she started eating those enormous lunches. Back to the hotel, please. Yes, Mr. Leland. Miss Treadwell, type this up immediately. Do it yourself and send it to all parties concerned. Cancel all travel arrangements and business meetings Near and Far East. Remaining in Paris on urgent business regarding my art foundation. Further instructions will be issued as needed. Paris office: Do a run-down on Charles Bonnet... this city, all members of his family, his art collection... and particularly the Cellini Venus, which is now on exhibition. Have all this information at my hotel in the morning. This is urgent, repeat, urgent. And confidential. Don't move. Put down that painting. Put it down! Miss Bonnet, please... Stay where you are! Why did you choose that particular painting? It was the handiest. Look, don't call the police. Give me another chance. You see, I was only taking one painting and you've got so many. The chances were you wouldn't have missed it. I'll put it back. It's beautiful. A pity. You knew my father and the servants were out. How? It's my business to know things like that. Look, if I frightened you, I'm really terribly sorry. I thought you'd be at the opening with your father. Big event like that... Anyway, you frightened me, so we're even. Don't be impudent. That thing isn't loaded, is it? Of course it is. - Are you armed? - Wait. Do you have a gun? Good God, no! I'm going to let you go. I don't know why, but... I'm the one that's bleeding. - What's that? - Iodine. Will it hurt? For a burglar, you're not very brave, are you? I'm a society burglar. I don't expect people to rush about shooting me. Take your hand away so I can put this stuff on. Ouch! That hurt. Don't be such a baby. It's only a flesh wound. It happens to be my flesh. You have to expect some occupational hazards. You broke in here to steal! Could we keep personalities out of this conversation? Fine. A thing like this could keep me out of action for a week. Temporarily, you'll have to go straight. Look, it's late and I'm tired, and I have to work in the morning. You work? Some people do, you know. All right. I'm going. How do I get home? I can't drive. I feel weak from shock and loss of blood. Dear heaven! I'll call you a taxi. And pay for it. Is that all right? As far as I'm concerned, fine... but if the police found my car outside your house... it would mean questions, and I'm wanted, you know. I'm really thinking of you. Thank you very much. I'll drive you home. Is that okay? Fine, thank you. You don't happen to have a cigarette, do you? Here. Pretty, isn't she? She'll do more than 150 miles an hour. Useful for getaways, you see. The robbery business must be pretty good. It's stolen. I can't drive a stolen car! Same principle. Four gears forward, one reverse. This is crazy. You should be in jail, and I should be in bed. All right. Where to? The Ritz. The what? The Hotel Ritz in the Place Vendme. I know where it is. You're a very chic burglar, aren't you? Your arm is much better. No. It hurts. It's the other arm. The infection is spreading. We got here alive. Thank you. If ever I can return the favor... Hardly likely to happen, is it? Now how do I get home? You see, you never can tell when you might need a friend. Good evening, Mr. Dermott. Armand, I want a taxi. Yes, Mr. Dermott. Right away. Transportation laid on. Taxi. Gave myself away there. Now you know my name. Can't be helped. Besides, I have a funny feeling, believe me, it's rare in my profession... that you're completely trustworthy. Just one more tiny favor: Like an idiot, I forgot to wear gloves. I may have left fingerprints. Be an angel. Before you go to bed... give the frame of the painting a little wipe with a clean cloth, okay? Certainly. Anything else? You wouldn't like a forged passport or some counterfeit money or... You're mad, utterly mad. I suppose you want to kiss me good night. I don't usually, not on the first acquaintance... but you've been such a good sport. Drive carefully. Get a good night's sleep. Nicole, my darling, what a pity you missed the opening. Our Cellini Venus was a tremendous success. You should have seen the crowds. - Thousands of them. - I want to... Photographers from all nationalities... with our Cellini Venus the center of the whole attraction. Papa, I caught a burglar. Of course you did. But you must promise me to go there and see for yourself. A burglar? What? Here in this house? Good Lord. Here, take a sip of this and just tell me all about it. It was pitch dark and there he was. Tall, blue eyes, slim, quite good-looking... in a brutal, mean way. Papa, a terrible man. Arrogant, ruthless, no sense of guilt or shame... or anything. So you discussed all that, did you? That was later, when I was driving him home. I had to, Papa, I shot him in the arm with your old pistol... but it was an accident, I think... My darling... supposing you start all over again and tell me what happened in detail. I caught him in the act of stealing. I kept him back with the pistol... and I was telephoning the police when I saw what he was stealing. The van Gogh, your van Gogh. What? And I didn't know what to do. I was afraid if he was arrested it might mean publicity. Of course. A police investigation, that might have been very awkward. - That's what I thought. So I let him go. - Good! - I did the right thing, didn't I? - Of course. Maybe he was a first offender. If you'd have seen how he was carrying on when I was dressing his wound. He might have got an infection. The whole thing was too awful, Papa. Good night, Papa. Good night, my darling. Have a good sleep. Nicole. This tall, good-looking ruffian with blue eyes... he didn't molest you in any way, did he? Not much. Sorry. Good morning. We meet only under the most artistic circumstances. Beautiful! You wouldn't dare. Fear nothing, I'm off duty. Miss Bonnet. A pleasure to have you here. Mr. Grammont. Mr. Grammont, the Director of the Museum, and... Delighted. How do you do. We are old friends. We used to shoot together. Wonderful exhibition. So many beautiful things. - And so valuable! - Yes. And observe, please, the security precautions... protecting your great sculpture. - Are you interested in art, Mr. Dermott? - Indeed I am. - And in security. - Splendid. Let me show you, please. Excuse me. You see those tiny blue beams. They are infrared circuits. - I have to go. - Go on. I find it fascinating. Be careful. Because those beams create a circuit around the Venus... and anything that breaks the circuit, instant alarm! Bravo! Thank you... It's the Electric Eye Detection and Alarm System. We call it the E.D.A.S. - Very clever. - Nice. I know the question you're going to ask: "What if a burglar got to it and turned off the alarm?" No. The thought never entered my mind. Funny, I was going to ask that very thing. Good question. The answer is, he cannot. You see, it operates like the door to a vault, and only two trusted guards... and myself of course, know the combination. - Let me show you... - I have an appointment. - Goodbye. - I can spare a few minutes. - You're coming with me. Aren't you? - All right. If you insist. Bye-bye. Now go away or I'll call a policeman. Yours is a capricious nature. Do you always blow hot and cold like this? Say! Listen. I have something very important to say to you. Now don't go away. Well, finally! I waited at the Ritz for you last night. I thought you'd been caught. - No. - What happened? I'm only a part-time burglar, and it's hard work. Did you find the van Gogh? Easily. And? It disturbs you, doesn't it? Not a bit. It's a great van Gogh. Of course it is, but who painted it? My dear Bernard, Bonnet has a Cellini sculpture on exhibition... right now which is worth $1,000,000. He doesn't need to forge paintings. Do you think that's a forgery? No, not that! For one thing, it was first exhibited in 1910 when Bonnet was eight years old. Besides, Bonnet never studied sculpture. But he did study painting. If he has $1,000,000 lying around loose... why does he forge paintings? What's his motive? Ego, vanity, hoodwinking the whole world... and having a wonderful time doing it. Simon, imagine Bonnet as a young painter. Like many others he copies the masters to learn their secrets. It is his hobby. But over the years, it becomes an obsession. He learned every nuance of light, of color, of shade, of form. He identifies with them completely. When he paints a van Gogh, he is van Gogh. He's Lautrec, Czanne, he's any painter he chooses to be, and that is his motive... and also his profit. - What about Bonnet's daughter? - Nicole? What about her? - Do you think she's in it with him? - In what? According to you, there is nothing. - That's right. - You're wrong. And you'll see. Come in. Hello, Papa. Good evening, my dear. Marcel tells me you're dining out. With an American tycoon I met today. - He makes computers. - What? Well, that might be the basis of an enduring friendship. And there he is. Right on the executive button. An enormous Cadillac. Does that sound right? - What's his name? - Davis Leland. - Are you sure? - Do you know him? No, but I'd very much like to meet him. Yes, he is one of the most open-handed art collectors in the whole of America. I'll go and keep him company. He didn't say a word about a collection. Didn't he tell you that he's got the great Toulouse-Lautrec... from the Bonnet collection? Your Lautrec or Lautrec's Lautrec? Mine, naturally. Oh, no. Are you implying that my Lautrec is in any way inferior? Listen, Papa. He mentioned your name as though it were only vaguely familiar. Not only didn't he mention anything about a collection... he said he didn't like art at all. He suspects something. He must have arranged to meet me. I find that rather intriguing. I'll go and meet him. A lovely dinner. Marvelous wine. How did you know how to choose it? I own a vineyard. Well, what fun! - It's a subsidiary of Eastern Coal and Coke. - Eastern Coal and Coke? That's a subsidiary of Western Wool and Flax. Fascinating. What's your growth factor? Say! You're marvelous. You're wonderful. You know, usually I have trouble talking with girls... but with you, it's as though you were a member of the Board. That's very nice of you, Mr. Leland. But I wish I didn't have this feeling that there's a subject you're trying to avoid. There is something, isn't there? Yes. I hate to say this. But you see, it has to do with your father... and the Bonnet collection. Yes. You see... Damn it, this is hard for me to say. Mr. Davis Leland? Yes. Long-distance call, Mr. Leland. United States. California. How the devil did they track me down here? Please excuse me. I'll cut it short. - Oh, no! - Not a very cordial greeting. I went to considerable trouble to arrange these few precious moments alone. - Leave the table. - It's National Crime Prevention Week. - Take a Burglar to Dinner. - My escort has a very ugly temper. Now go and call off that fake telephone call. There's something I must tell you. - How I'd like to take another shot at you! - It's important! Quittez pas! What is that? I'm going to quittez pas right now. Either you leave this table or I start screaming. - Yes, I'll go. - Choose! Just tell me where and when we can meet. Choose! And make it fast! Remember, Simon Dermott. Room 136, the Ritz. It's urgent. The Ritz! Now, where were we? With my father and his collection. Oh, yes. I hate to have to tell you this, Miss Bonnet. - I arranged our meeting. - Why? It's this ridiculous obsession. It devours me. From the minute I first laid eyes on it, I was lost, helpless... completely caught up in this awful compulsion. Laid eyes on what? The Cellini Venus, of course. I saw it last night. It haunted me. I can't think of anything else. I haven't slept a wink all night. Today, when I learned your father wouldn't sell it... I started pulling strings to meet you... hoping somehow to use you to get the Venus. Well, that's it. - You poor, dear man! - No! Don't spare my feelings. I'm sorry you fell in love with the Venus. She's not for sale. Believe me, if she were mine, she'd be on your doorstep in the morning. That's your consolation prize. Well, you kissed me! Yes. And that's for emphasis. - Shall we dance? - Oh, yes! Good morning, my dear. I'll call Marcel. No, thank you. I'm late. I just have to tell you about Davis Leland. Everything's fine. As far as Davis Leland is concerned, you can go on faking masterpieces... as long as you can hold a brush. He cooked up a big plot to meet me just to get to you through me... hoping that way he'd get the Cellini. Really? American millionaires must be all quite mad. Perhaps it's something they put in the ink when they print the money. A gentleman to see you, sir. On behalf of the director of the Klber-Lafayette Museum, sir. So early? Show him in, Marcel. Must be a very enterprising young fellow. Good morning, sir. I'm sorry to disturb you. Just a technicality on the insurance of your loan of one statue: "Twenty-nine inches, in marble, entitled Venus, by... "Benvenuto Cellini." Insurance, on that? - It's never been insured. It's beyond price! - Yes. We were aware of that, sir. So special cover was taken over for its transportation and exhibition. But by an unfortunate error, sir... your signature was not obtained on the document. There is, of course, no expense to yourself, sir. A mere formality, for once you've signed this document... the work of art is covered until it's returned to this house in good order. I just have to sign? And then it's... Insured for $1,000,000 against all risks... including flood, earthquake, thunderbolt, falling aircraft, loot, sack, pillage... military or civil commotion, fire, structural collapse of buildings... and, of course, larceny or theft. Thank you, sir. By the way, sir, would you like to be present... at the technical examination? Technical examination? Yes, they always require it and you, of course, have just authorized it. A mere formality. I believe they have a Prof. Bauer flying in from Zurich on Friday. Well, thank you, sir. And good day. Wait. Papa, this Prof. Bauer... Does he know all the tests? He invented them. - It's not as if we're trying to sell it. - My dear, at the first breath of suspicion... the entire myth of the Bonnet collection explodes. Everything I've done will be examined and re-examined with X-rays... fluoroscopes, microscopes, shadowgraphs... smelly chemicals and all sorts of... We live in a crass, commercial world, with no faith or trust. We must keep Prof. Bauer from examining the Venus. But how? I've just given my permission. I've not only put my head into the guillotine... I've unloosened my collar and tie so that they can chop it off. At least I can keep you out of this. Leave Paris. I want you to go to America. No, go to the Orient or somewhere. Please, it will be easier for me, I promise you. I'm not going to leave you and that's final. - Sir? - Yes? - A seor Paravideo to see you, sir. - Who? A South American gentleman, I believe, sir. Of an excitable nature. - Who's he? - I don't know. Oh, my God! Mademoiselle, monsieur. I must... Here it is! Just as you said... only greater by far! I must apologize. I had an urgent call. A revolution in my country. Also, some of my mines are flooded. I must go back soon. I couldn't bear to leave Paris without consulting you about this. Seor, it is not for sale. But you said you might... It is not for sale! - Goodbye. - I can see the hand of a master! Goodbye. Adis. Preposterous little man! I met him at the auction when my Czanne... fetched such a stunning price. Why not? It was worth a stunning price. Even more! This will not be a scandal, but a triumph! Let the experts come pouring in! Let them bring their X-rays, their microscopes... even their nuclear weapons if they like. Remember what happened with van Meegeren... and all those forged Vermeers? He drove the experts crazy. He won every round, fought them, and then emerged the victor. He finally painted one last Vermeer and even that was a triumph. The guards marveled at the brilliance of his brushwork. Even his fellow inmates couldn't believe their eyes. And the governor of the prison, he... What's the number of the Hotel Ritz? Opera 2830. Good evening. I didn't recognize you. You look, somehow, different. - Scotch. - Likewise. I was surprised to hear from you. Surprised and pleased, Miss... Please, no names. If it's all that private, I've got a bottle in my room upstairs. This is a business meeting. I find I have need of someone with your talents and experience... Please, no names! You interested in a big-time caper? - A what? - A heist. You mean a burglary. What's the score, baby? Won't be easy. That's okay. What's the job? I'm in. - The Klber-Lafayette Museum. - I'm out! Why that particular spot? The Cellini Venus. Your Cellini Venus? Well, it's not mine exactly. It's sort of in the family. Anyway, that should be no concern of yours. You want to steal it? Why? Is it a publicity stunt? Lord, no! It's very valuable. It's worth $1,000,000! I know. There are also That's about a dollar a policeman. I don't like the rate of exchange. You mean you won't do it? No. - Are you sure? - Quite sure. I'm sorry. Thank you for thinking of me. Look, finish your drink. I have to go. Are you really serious? You've seen the way your statue is protected. The Electric Eye, the guards... Well, I was hoping to leave those details to you. I'll sleep on it and... It's too late, the museum's closed. We'll look over the premises in the morning. What we call in the trade "casing the joint." Thank you very much. Look, it's early. Why don't I show you the real Paris. That's very kind of you. I live here. I was born in Paris. I forgot. Why don't you show me the real Paris? - I only have two inches left of this bench. - I'm terribly sorry. Where and what time tomorrow? I find that the most successful jobs of this kind are planned... when everyone is relaxed. So let's meet and have a nice, long, cozy lunch. Corner of avenue Gabriel, avenue Marigny, 10:00 a.m. - Right? - Right. Is it those police that worry you so? Yes. And these. But that's the Ministry of the Interior. It's always guarded. What about them? They have nothing to do with us. They're guarding government buildings. That's where the President lives. I know. The museum you want to stick up is right here. Very handy! I can practically taste the bread and water! - It can't be! - What? Well, for a moment, I thought I saw a resemblance. Resemblance to what? You and... That's silly! She's at least 400 years old. I know, but... Sorry. Where exactly were you in the early part of the 16th century? I don't know, but that's not how I was dressed. Who's in charge here? Sir! At your service! Dubois, Assistant Deputy Chairman, Commissioner of Tourism. Isn't this place cleaned regularly? Look at this sleeve, just from brushing against the woodwork. I'm sorry, but we have a complete staff of cleaning women. Once a month, I suppose. No, sir, every night, from midnight until 4:00 a.m. See they do their jobs properly, or I'll make a report. Yes, sir. Carry on. Thank you, sir. Sir! - This way. - Really? Don't you think it's being a bit pushy, starting with a million-dollar robbery? I mean, we've got to walk before we can run, you know. I know a little gallery we could knock over... just to get our feet wet so to speak and then... gathering confidence as we go, we could move into the big time. - No good? - No good at all. Next question. Why must it be this particular work of art? Well, you don't think I'd steal something that didn't belong to me, do you? Excuse me, I spoke without thinking. Why not wait until you get it back home and steal it then? No muss, no fuss, a nice, clean inside job. - I'll be delighted to offer my services. - This is not a prank or a whim. It's something I must do... - because I must do it. - I see. We must look at the facts impartially. We can't get past the alarm. That's out. We can't tamper with it. That's out. - We can't turn it off. - That's out. You're some burglar, you are. This is how you normally work, by the mile? I'm thinking. Look at my forehead, all wrinkled. What we need is at precisely the right moment... some trusted member of the museum staff... has to obligingly switch off the alarm system. - Couldn't we bribe someone? - Excellent idea! - No. - Why not? Because I don't know which guard knows how to do it. Do you want to see it again? Here we go. It always circles around and comes back. Just like that. Not now, please! There you are, sonny. It's all ready. Thank you very much. - You, sir. How many do you want? - Excuse me, gentlemen. I was here first. Excuse me, sir. Ever seen the boomerang? Two? Blue or red? Don't forget what I told the children. Don't forget to throw it at the right angle. That's the idea. Great fun! Try it. If you'll tell me what you're doing and why... I'll buy you a cowboy suit and a set of trains. I want you to take a long last look at the blue sky, the green grass... the trees and the river, all of which I loathe personally... which is why a juicy stretch in a cozy French prison... doesn't bother me at all. You think you have a scheme that might work? You really are the smuggest and most hateful man. If you frequent criminal circles, you can't be choosey. How do you like being a gangster's moll, baby? Now where are we going? My apartment. I'd like to remind you, Mr. Dermott, ours is a business relationship. I am aware of that. I'm also aware of the social gulf between us. You are an aristocrat, and I am a humble burglar. Right. There's the bathroom. Take off your clothes. Are we planning the same sort of crime? You are quite safe. It's dress-rehearsal time. That's why we bought all this lovely junk. Come on. If it's a necessary part of the plan... Are you sure? Chatter, chatter, chatter. Do as you're told! That's nice. Yes, that's really nice. It just needs one more little touch. Now turn around for me, would you? Go on. Yes, that's fine. That does it. Does what? For one thing, it gives Givenchy a night off. Now... Down! Scrub the floor. Crime doesn't pay, does it. Elbow grease! Scrub! And don't sulk. At 11:57 p.m., all hell will break loose in the museum. And at midnight, the scrubwomen come trooping in. And whatever happens, hang onto your bucket. You do have a plan, don't you? Of course I have. Now listen very carefully. My plan is, on the night of the crime... my plan and I will be curled up in that bed with a good book. - Why? - You asked me why? I ask you why. Why are we breaking into a heavily guarded museum... to steal a precious statue which belongs to you? But I told you why I couldn't tell you why. Not good enough. You're perfectly right. In your place, I'd feel the same way. I'm in this awful trouble. But it's nothing to do with you. I just can't explain so I'm stuck. I'll get out of these clothes. - Don't you dare cry! - I have something in my eye. Nothing's wrong with it. You're crying to soften me up. - It's not true. - It won't work! I'm too tough. I know. I'm going. Hurry up! Go on. Hurry up! And meet me at the museum at 5:30 p.m., sharp. And don't ask me why, or I'll hit you with a bucket! Yes, sir. Thank you, sir! I won't be in for dinner, Marcel, and I may be out quite late, in fact. If anybody calls, anyone at all... you don't know where I am, or how to reach me. Yes, mademoiselle. Good afternoon. Just tell Miss Bonnet that I'm here, please? I'm sorry, sir. Miss Bonnet has gone out. Out? Are you sure? Her car is in the courtyard. Quite sure, sir. She took a taxi. Well, I'll wait. Why, hello... What a nice surprise! I did go out. I forgot something, so I came in again. The servants' entrance. I'm rushing out again. Thank you. I'll let Mr. Leland out. No. I'm all rehearsed, made up, and ready to go on. Luckily it's only a short speech. I must fly. I have a business appointment. I can't be late... Business! That's all you French girls ever think about. - Well, a minute, a second, really. - You're in a rush. You want action? Fine! That's my mood, too. Here. Catch. - Oh, Davis! - Please, no speeches. But why? Why? That's the silliest question I ever heard of. It's wild. We don't even know each other. - Please come back tomorrow? - No. Made up my mind. Man of action! Snap judgment. I bought a fleet of tankers that way. - One of the best deals I ever made. - But I'm not a fleet of tankers. I'm not getting engaged to a man I barely know. You'll get to know me. Look me up in Who's Who, Dun & Bradstreet... There. That's it. It's a deal? Yes. But, no! I'm a little dizzy. And this thing is just blinding me! I really have to run. - No. Relax. - I do. I've never been engaged to such a fidgety girl in all my life. The kiss. Where have you been? I was getting engaged. Come on. This fellow came when I was leaving. He wants to marry me. I didn't want to keep you waiting, so I got engaged to him. - Is it all right? Am I on time? - Fine. In fact, we have 10 more minutes. - If you'd like to go back and marry him... - Come on. Would you check your parcel, please? Thank you. Just checking on the accommodations. Don't start that. Not again. I could swear that... Well, we have a few moments for cultural improvement. How do we get past the alarm? Like this gentlemen here... I'm depending on normal human reactions. Blue period? Regard the subtle harmony of color. Now, the nice thing about complicated mechanical devices is... if they do suddenly go haywire... Yes. What's after haywire? The people in charge have a tendency to panic... and to run around in confused circles, and at that moment we strike. A superb Rembrandt. Now, this is, to coin a phrase, the point of no return. In precisely one minute, the closing bell will ring. We can leave with the others and have a quiet dinner, or we stay. Then we're committed to go through with it. Do you really want it... that much? More! Okay. You're the boss. Just do as I tell you. Stand by for the countdown. Six, five, four... three, two, one... Now! Watch for normal human reactions. Comfy? I hadn't counted on there being quite so much togetherness. It's the height of the tourist season. Everything was booked. This was the best I could do. He locked the door. He's locked us in. It's challenging, I admit, but doesn't that make it more interesting? - I'm going to faint. - Don't. There's no room. All right, boys. Didn't you hear me? Now we have a fix on when they make their rounds. Exactly every hour. We're still locked in. How about that, mastermind? Hold that. Brilliant! - It doesn't open from the inside. - Blast! However, by a strange coincidence... I just happen to have... Now. Marvelous. No applause, please. Wait till you see what I do for an encore. What are you doing? Give it to me. Here. Put those on. Get cracking. Turn around. What for? They go on over the clothes. There. Thank you. Congratulations! You look terrible. Can we steal that statue soon? - I hate to complain but really... - Have patience. We will. When? And how? Now look, if you were a guard... and had to sit night after night guarding junk you couldn't afford... and didn't particularly like, how would you feel? Irritable. Oh, no! - It's psychological warfare. - With that? Turn on the lights. Follow me! "Ring out, wild bells!" Look around! You spread out! Come with me. Everything is in order. - Nothing is missing. - I checked. It isn't a short circuit. Scientists! A burglar alarm especially designed to give me heartburn. - Sorry, sir. - Thank you. Klber-Lafayette Museum. Senior Guard speaking. I regret very much if the Minister and the Madam Minister... have been disturbed. Yes, I know it's a very loud alarm. We don't know why it went off. We checked everything, and so did the police. But... No, sir, nothing is missing, and the alarms are set again. I'm sorry, sir. Good night, sir. The Prefecture of Police. The alarm bells woke up the Minister of the Interior. Good! I'm so scared. My heart's thumping. I just feel terrible. I'd send for a doctor but I honestly don't think he'd fit in the closet. I'm so scared for you, too. I had no right to involve you in this. And if you want to call it off, I... Well, that's a kind thought and I appreciate it, but then... What about Prof. Bauer? What happens tomorrow when he turns up to test your million-dollar baby? It's a fake, isn't it? No long, involved stories at this time of night. Just nod your head, yes or no. Who carved it? - My grandfather. - Who posed for it? My grandmother. - You're the first to notice a resemblance. - I'm very sensitive and perceptive. How long have you known about her, and me, and... Since you first asked me to steal it. But then if you knew the Venus was worthless... why did you... That's why. I'm so stupid. Explain it to me again. Funny how roomy it's suddenly become in here. We're adjusting to our environment. What is it? I'm sorry. It's my engagement ring. I forgot about it. So did I. Congratulations. May I kiss the bride? For one thing, whose bride am I kissing? I don't know. Some American. His name's Leland Davis. Or Davis Leland? They're lucky fellows, both of them. Second round coming up. Just marking my place. Don't go away. Find him! Look around. Pretty soon, someone's going to get awfully tired of this racket. Normal human reaction. Jacquart speaking, Senior Guard at the Klber-Lafayette Museum. At your service, Excellency! Yes, sir, I know it makes a terrible noise, Excellency. It was installed for just that purpose. No, Excellency, I didn't install it. Yes, sir, I know it is the second time tonight. It will be rectified right away. Good night, Excellency. Now guess who we woke up? Switch off the lights. I'm going to turn it off! Permanently! It worked. What do you know. They've turned off the A-B... It worked! Didn't you expect it to? Pull yourself together. You're a genius. I know. It's a funny feeling. Look, wait until the moment of maximum confusion... and then start scrubbing like mad in the direction of the guards' room. - Guards' room? - That's right. But the guards! When they see that the Venus is gone there will be guards everywhere... except the guards' room. - Shall we? - Thank you. Come here. Hang on to your bucket. Stay here. You there, Nicole? Get back there. You know, Grandpa was pretty good. To say nothing of Grandma. Now, in the chimney with you, till the scrubwomen come. Good luck. What a night we've had! One alarm after another. And telephone calls from everybody. Who do you think called from across the street? Don't stand there gaping. Get to your post, man! And don't hesitate when I give an order! Alarm! Robbers! Crooks! Alarm! Get this silly bottle out of here! Can you give us a brief history of the Venus? What do the police say? Did you decline $1,000,000? How did you find out about it? I woke up in the night with a sudden premonition. I thought it was something I'd eaten. But Mr. Grammont, the director of the museum... he called and I believe he's on his way here. Are you offering a reward for its return? No! What I mean to say is... that it seems so commercial to think of money at a time like this. I just heard the news. I can't believe my ears or my eyes. Absolutely fantastic! To pull off a thing like that! I guarantee that the police are investigating. The police? Man, where's your spirit? If we wait for the police... the Venus will be out of the country! We'll never set eyes on it again. De Solnay, I'm still vitally interested in the Cellini Venus, hot or cold. Do you know what I mean by that? Leland! Do you know what you're saying? You're compounding a felony. Offering to become a receiver of stolen goods. I'm an art lover. As a public service, I want to make an independent inquiry to help the police. Is that a crime? And if you find it, a step ahead of the police? You let me worry about that. - No, I'm an art dealer, not a fence. - A fence? I'll do it entirely on my own. All I need is an opening contact. De Solnay? All right. Wait. There happens to be a man in Paris at the moment... who specializes in matters of fine art. His name is... No, Leland, please! Think of what you're trying to do. - What about Nicole Bonnet? - I want both. Nicole and the Venus. Leland, remember? I sold you your first painting. I made you a collector. I thought it'd help you relax. It's great! I've never been so relaxed in all my life! - Yes, I can see that. - All right. The name! The name is Simon Dermott. He is staying at the Ritz. Night Fighter calling Dawn Patrol. Our telephone may be tapped, so we'll speak in Swahili. How are you? Did you sleep well? Simon, isn't it too awful? I slept beautifully! And I've just eaten an enormous breakfast. Isn't it ghastly? It's your tainted blood. Who? What? She's fine. She's wrapped up in one of my old shirts, just as snug as can be. I rocked her to sleep in my arms last night. It's the first time I ever did that with a grandmother. Simon, do you think we should be seen together? All right. In an hour at the Ritz bar. The Cellini Venus was uninsured. Uninsured? Yes. But I vaguely recollect signing something for insurance. But the policy was not yet in force. Not until the technical examination had been made. Yes, the technical examination. Well, $1,000,000 more, $1,000,000 less. I believe my father did buy it at a bargain price. My dear sir, you are a prince. I wish I could express properly what I feel. Prof. Bauer, I dare say, will be greatly disappointed. Yes, and I must meet him now. Give him my regards, and say I'm sorry to have been unable to see him on this trip. Now cheer up, my dear fellow. It's not the end of the world, you know. Nicole! Marcel, champagne! Where are you? I'm here. We're saved! Isn't it marvelous? My darling! - Thank heaven for the criminal class. - I'm so happy. You don't have to go to jail. I don't have to go to America. It's beautiful! We must celebrate! Take it into the library. We'll have a lunch and again tonight, fireworks, cocktails, a magnificent dinner! But not right away. I have a very important appointment at the Ritz. - But I'll be right back, I promise. - That's good. I'll start by myself. The Ritz? Again? You realize what you're asking is extremely difficult and dangerous? Yes, I know that, Mr. Dermott. Please, no names. We may be up against some very desperate characters. - Them? - Those. Fortunately, I've a few contacts. In fact, this morning... I made a few inquiries, you know, put out a few feelers. Just idle curiosity. - You've got a lead? - Too early for anything concrete. Let's just say I suspect who was involved. Is it, you know, what we're talking about, is it still in France? I think so. I think I can definitely state it's still in France. You realize you might be paying a great deal of money... for something you could never exhibit, acknowledge, or even display... - not even in your house? - Yes, I know. I want it! I just want to take it out of the vault, all alone, just look at it now and then. Know that it's mine, that I own it, that I can touch it. One more thing. Do you happen to know the owners, any member of the Bonnet family? I've met Bonnet. I know his daughter, too. As a matter of fact, I'm going to see her tonight. Drop her! Don't see her. Don't even telephone her. That's vital! Any contact with any member of the Bonnet family would be fatal. - The criminals would suspect a trap. - But we're engaged. You know, you're a lucky fellow. From what I hear, she's an enchanting girl. What the hell! The world's full of statues. Forget the Venus. No! Listen! I'll do anything you say. I'll give you my word. - I'll call you later in the day. - All right. You'll contact me. Thanks. - Sit tight. Wait for the call. - Right. - Do I look all right? - Fine. Why? I just met this fellow, and he treated me like I was a leper or something. I just wanted to give him back this. Really? Have a drink. Good for morale. Let's have some champagne to celebrate. You can't celebrate a crime. That's immoral. - You handle it. It's too confusing. - A bottle of Dom Perignon, please. It's all right. You're at the awkward age. Too old to be a juvenile delinquent, too young to be a hardened criminal. We did it! Did you see the papers and the television? Did you hear the radio? It's the crime of the century, practically. And we did it! You were the brain behind it, but I was of some help, wasn't I? I mean, we worked well together, considering it was our first job. - Calm down. - I know I shouldn't carry on so... it's all in a day's work for you, but it's my first burglary. - And mine, too. - Bringing it off the way we... What? My first burglary. Then what were you doing in our house that night? You're sure you want to know? No. Yes. I'm a private detective, specializing in stolen works of art... and in tracing, detecting, and exposing forgeries. I am also an authority on museum security... being a special consultant to principal museums... in London, New York, Chicago, Madrid. Even Leningrad. I have degrees in history of art and chemistry... and a London University diploma, with distinction, in advanced criminology. You're all of that? Then you're not a burglar? I was chipping a piece of your father's paint from that van Gogh... when you loomed up in your nighty and shot me in the arm. Bring another glass. Yes, sir. I don't believe we've met. My name is Charles Bonnet. - May I please join you? - Simon Dermott. By all means. Papa, this is a friend of mine. He's a... I mean, he was telling me... Yes. Blue eyes, tall, quite good-looking. A terrible man! I believe we have some interests in common. You have two gorgeous girls in your family, Mr. Bonnet. The other is upstairs, wrapped in a shirt, in my room. And which, may I ask, do you intend to keep? The real one. - A very sound choice, if I may say so. - I think so. And the other? I have plans for her, too. I think you'll be pleased. Really? In fact I have to attend to her right now, so if you'll both excuse me? Extraordinary! Is he always so abrupt? Not in a closet. Key! You've done a wonderful job! You sure you don't want any money? You will be contacted. Don't worry if it's not in the near future. Right! The code word will be "togetherness." "Togetherness." I got it. - Happy landings! - The same to you! Togetherness! My dear boy, what a coup! And he's the only collector who'd never dare have it tested. How much did you say he was paying for the Venus, my son? I didn't say, Papa. But I'm sure you picked a nice, round figure. I have. $0.00. Gift from Charles Bonnet to Davis Leland. - But this... - Sit down, Mr. Bonnet. You happen to be a forger. My business happens to be catching forgers... and putting them in prison. Yes, that could be very awkward. One of us has to retire. Fair enough! Shall we toss a coin for it? I've already tossed one on the way here. And? You lost. Come on. You had a great run, and you were the best. Hang up your brushes and paints, and retire while you're on top. What do you say, champ? Here is my answer. Indian wrestling at a time like this? Nicole, my darling child. You tell her. I'm too moved. Papa has seen the light. He's going straight. - Papa, will you be all right? - He'll survive. If we miss our plane, we may be getting married in prison. This is a most remarkable young man. The way he explained things, the path of righteousness... became clearly defined. Now hurry, my children, before I break down completely. The van Gogh? Seor. Welcome! Come in... Who's that? Papa's cousin. From South America. Go! For someone who started lying just recently... you're showing a real flair. Thank you.

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Harry Kurnitz

Harry Kurnitz (January 5, 1908 – March 18, 1968) was an American playwright, novelist, and prolific screenwriter who wrote swashbucklers for Errol Flynn and comedies for Danny Kaye. He also wrote some mystery fiction under the name Marco Page. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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"How to Steal a Million" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Jun 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/how_to_steal_a_million_10322>.

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