It's a jolly good time, and Dassin has as much fun seriously pulling off the robbery as he does spoofing the characters who fully fulfill the old adage of the best-laid plans of mice and men...and women. Twists and turns abound as much as a silhouette of an Istanbul skyline. Schell and Mercouri have never looked more glamorous—Dassin lovingly channels his Hollywood studio days with M-G-M with a directorial smile—and Ustinov has never looked more sweaty or been more peripatetic; Elizabeth Taylor won a sympathy-Oscar that year, and maybe the Academy did the same for Ustinov, seeing him scramble white-knuckled over high, slippery Istanbul rooftops.
For years, there was talk of a remake under the direction of Paul Verhoeven, with Pierce Brosnan repeating his debonair thief role from The Thomas Crown Affair to be called The Topkapi Affair. As it's been 18 years since that remake hit theaters, interest seems to have waned... at least until some studio head sees a heist film having a good opening weekend and asks if they have anything in the pile.