The film opens with embezzler Marcus Pendleton (Peter Ustinov) being released from prison. He begins work immediately on a new scheme to impersonate computer expert Caesar Smith (Robert Morley) and fiddle a million pounds from Tacoma Concrete and Cement Corp (known as “Ta Can Co”) – a large American company run by Carlton J. Klemper (Karl Malden) and Willard C. Gnatpole (Bob Newhart).
Meanwhile, Marcus romances his attractive but ditzy redheaded secretary and next-door neighbour Patty Terwilliger Smith (a hot young Maggie Smith) who just can’t hold down a job (we see her fired from jobs as bus conductress, usherette and traffic warden). They eventually marry and flee to Brazil, where a nice twist ending reveals the truth about Patty.
It’s a clever entertaining romp for any fans of the swinging sixties with all its mini skirts, black eyeliner, white lipstick, skinny ties and bubble furniture.
There are many uncredited appearances in bit parts, including Bob Todd, Peter Jones and Lynda Baron. The film provides one of the few rare filmed glimpses of the interior of The Beatles‘ Apple Boutique on Baker Street in London (where Patty takes Willard shopping for clothes).
Marcus Pendleton/Caesar Smith
Patty Terwilliger Smith
Carlton J. Klemper
Willard C. Gnatpole