Cast & Crew
Edward G. Robinson
After 30 years of teaching at a Rio de Janeiro convent school located across from a diamond company, Prof. James Anders retires and flies to New York. He contacts an old friend, Mark Milford, now a wealthy criminal, and presents him with an elaborate plan to rob the diamond company. Milford recruits four men for the heist: Erich Weiss, a former Nazi sergeant who will supervise the operation; Gregg, one of the world's fastest safecrackers; Agostino Rossi, an electronics expert; and Jean-Paul Audry, a French gigolo who must seduce the diamond company's secretary, Mary Ann, to obtain her vault key. The men assemble in Rio and solve an unanticipated problem--a new alarm system called "Grand Slam 70." On the night of the robbery, Jean-Paul removes the key from Mary Ann's purse and passes it to his accomplices; then Gregg and Agostino, through numerous ingenious devices, break into the diamond vault. After the robbery, Jean-Paul fails to replace the key, however, and Mary Ann goes to the police. On their way to the airport the robbers are chased by the police, and Gregg is killed. Before disposing of the getaway car, Erich strangles Jean-Paul, whom he has long hated; fearing that he is next, Agostino flees but is killed by police at a fishing port. When Erich, the sole survivor, arrives at the rendezvous spot with the case of jewels, he is shot down by the waiting Milford; upon opening the case, however, Milford finds it empty. In Rome Mary Ann and Professor Anders are seated at a sidewalk cafe, congratulating themselves on their clever series of double-crosses, when they are momentarily distracted by a plane dropping leaflets. In that split second a thief rides past on a motorcycle and snatches Mary Ann's purse, unaware that he has stolen $10 million in diamonds.
Edward G. Robinson
Miguel Del Castillo
Carlos Luiz Corito
Antonio De La Loma
Juan Alberto Soler
Grand Slam - New on DVD
A rarely seen but highly entertaining example of the heist thriller - Grand Slam (1967) - now available on DVD from Blue Underground - has many pleasures to offer the uninitiated, from its eclectic cast (Edward G. Robinson, Janet Leigh and Klaus Kinski!!), to its exotic locations (Paris, Rome, New York, London and Rio) to the percolating pop score by Ennio Morricone (the theme song sounds like a goofy homage to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass/Burt Bacharach collaboration on the Casino Royale  main theme). While Grand Slam lacks the intensity and grim seriousness of other caper movies like The Killing (1956) or Rififi (1955), it does share with those films an ending and a message that would make the Production Code enforcers of Hollywood's golden age quite happy - cheaters never win. Ah, but somebody does profit in this jewel heist and the surprise twist ending of Grand Slam ends the film on a note of comic irony that is all the more appropriate for taking place in a Rome piazza.
In terms of ranking Grand Slam against other movies in its genre, it would fit comfortably between, say, the original version of Ocean's Eleven (1960), a rather ponderous and vastly overrated heist film, and its peppier, more stylish 2000 remake starring George Clooney. Though Grand Slam is a relatively lightweight affair, it does feature some surprising moments of violence and the unexpected demise of some major characters. In fact, Klaus Kinski's borderline psychotic getaway driver often seems to have dropped in from a more deadly caper thriller but you have to admit his numerous facial tics and snarling behavior are enormously entertaining (his introduction into the film - performing an aerial stunt - is also hilarious). Edward G. Robinson makes a wry appearance in what amounts to little more than a cameo role but it is really Janet Leigh and Robert Hoffmann as her would-be seducer who are entrusted with carrying the picture. While their on-again, off-again courtship generates some suspense, it is really the actual diamond heist which is the film's highpoint and it's a visually dazzling set piece. Additional eye candy is provided by the numerous Rio carnival street scenes and the whole affair moves along a fast clip under the direction of Giuliano Montaldo (Machine Gun McCain, 1970).
The Grand Slam DVD is a bit skimpy on extras - it only offers the theatrical trailer and a poster and stills gallery - but the picture quality is outstanding for a relatively obscure mid-sixties feature; it's presented in a widescreen format (2.35:1/16:9) and the playful interactive menus feature sound cues from Morricone's delightful score. This is the English language version but you also have the option to select the French language version (no optional subtitles for that). For more information about Grand Slam, visit the distributor's web site at Image Entertainment, Inc.. To purchase a copy of Grand Slam, visit Movies Unlimited.
by Jeff Stafford
Grand Slam - New on DVD
Location scenes filmed in Spain, Rome, London, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Released in Italy in 1967 as Ad ogni costo; in West Germany in January 1968 as Top Job at 110 min; in Spain in 1968 as Diamantes a go-go at 77 min.