James Anders (Edward G Robinson), a quiet mild-mannered history professor at an American school in Rio de Janeiro, retires and goes to New York to look up old boyhood buddy, Mark Milford (Adolfo Celi) who is now a Syndicate big-shot with a proposal for a $10 million diamond heist from a “burglar-proof” electronic safe during the Rio Carnival in Brazil.
Milford locates four international heist specialists in Paris, London and Rome, including an Italian electronics expert (Riccardo Cucciolla), a top-notch safecracker (Georges Rigaud), an ex-Nazi parachute instructor and strongarm man (Klaus Kinski), and a French playboy (Robert Hoffmann) whose role is to steal an important key from diamond company secretary Mary Ann (Janet Leigh).
With every conceivable angle covered, the job runs into a hitch when a brand new alarm system, the titular “Grand Slam 70”, is installed shortly before the planned robbery.
Edward G Robinson and Janet Leigh – apparently cast for their American box-office appeal – are not given very useful roles, but the four members of the gang are equal to the test, and Georges Rigaud earns special mention as Gregg, the expert safecracker. He pulls off the job with such confidence and skill it makes you wonder what he does nights.
Prof James Anders
Edward G Robinson