The original The Italian Job ends on a literal cliffhanger.
The gang of thieves is in a bus which is perched precariously on the lip of a ravine. One false step could throw off the bus’s balance, sending them all over the side to their death, which makes getting their loot off the vehicle a tricky proposition at best. Suddenly Michael Caine’s character Charlie Croker pipes up, “Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea.”
And then the credits roll, leaving audiences to wonder how, or even if, they manage an escape.
Well, Charlie Croker, in the guise of Sir Michael Caine himself, has divulged to the BBC how his cinematic cohorts managed to escape their precarious predicament and in doing so would have set up a proposed sequel.
I crawl up [to the driver’s seat], switch on the engine and stay there for four hours until all the petrol runs out. The van bounces back up so we can all get out, but then the gold goes over. There are a load of Corsican Mafia at the bottom watching the whole thing with binoculars. They grab the gold, and then the sequel is us chasing it.
The BBC report also has Caine stating that the sequence had been filmed, but the producers later decided not to use it.
I have to admit that I’m a bit conflicted over Caine’s revelation. On one hand, I am always interested in the filmmaking process and the decisions that go into deciding what material makes it to a film’s final cut. Alternate edits, deleted scenes and the like are always fascinating to read about as it gives some insight in to how the filmmakers crafted their story. On the other hand, The Italian Job ends pretty perfectly as it does, leaving the characters to live on in the audiences imaginations, perhaps with the suggestion that Caine and company are destined to continue chasing their ill-gotten gains, never to retrieve them. I guess it is ironic that in this case the revelation of what would have come next in the film actually reinforces the notion of continuing adventures.