Wednesday, May 14, 2014

La notte e fatta per...rubare (1967)

La notte e fatta per...rubare (1967)

Italian One Panel Poster

La notte e fatta per...rubare (aka Night is Made For Stealing) is an Italian comedy/caper film produced by Silvio Clementelli and directed by Giorgio Capitani.  Capitani appears to have had a long career in Italy, but I don't see much in his credits that would make him well-known outside of Italy.  It was written by Marcello Fondato, a familiar name with the Clementelli-produced films.  The English-language plot synopsis from the promotional program issued by the production company is as follows:

"A safe - the latest model, absolutely theft-proof - is clamorously presented on the market by an American company.

The insurance companies foresee trouble; their policy holders will begin to cancel coverage now that they can buy a safe which can't be broken into: therefore, they decide to hire a gang of Scottish safe-crackers to break into the first safe sold, in order to prove that a risk still exists.

The International brotherhood of robbers is also worried for their future, and assign a band of Neapolitans to open the first safe in operation, hoping to avoid the panic which is spreading throughout the underworld, and to reestablish their prestige.

In turn, the manufacturer of the safe has hired an American gang to defend their first safe on the market so as to preserve it's fame of being burglar-proof.

The unknown buyer of the first safe is an elderly jeweler from Montecarlo, who dies suddenly after his purchase.

His beautiful young widow (Catherine Spaak) and a rascally nephew (Philippe Leroy) - left out of the inheritance by the old grouch - decide, unknown to one another, to make up for it by stealing the precious jewels locked up in the impregnable new safe in the jewelry store.

Of course the gangs of villains who are out to crack the safe are professionals and much more able to plan and carry out the way to get into the safe, than the two amateurs:  the pretty widow and the wild nephew therefore go through all sorts of risky adventures, in the beginning as rivals, then accomplices; sometimes victims of robbery, sometimes robbers.

The situation gets even more mixed up by the many blunders made by an impulsive police inspector (Gastone Moschin) who, by chance gets ahold of the little suitcase containing the famous precious jewels.  Shocked and stunned by their splendor, the inspector decides to hang on to them and make a quick exit over the border.

In the end, after a whirlwind of mishaps and escapes, it will be the widow and the nephew - by now in love and happy together - to make the get-away with the marvelous jewels.  In love and happy together, but (once can never be too careful) both holding on tightly to the precious little suitcase..."

With the forgoing synopsis in mind, I have viewed an Italian language version of the film with no English subtitles.  My sense is that this is a rather silly film, though perhaps not as silly as something like 1966's The Last of the Secret Agents? (a Paramount-produced comedy/caper film), and is probably not as good a caper film as 1965's Seven Golden Men (with Rosanna Podesta joining Philippe Leroy and Gastone Mochin in the fun).  It appears to have been primarily built around Catherine (who is lovely and performs solidly, as usual) with some nice location scenery, so that counts for something.  This was Catherine's third of four appearances in films with Leroy and second of three appearances in films with Moschin.  I might change my mind, if I ever get to view the film without the language barrier, but my sense is that this is not a film that would rank among Catherine's better outings.  

Catherine's performance of the title song (although it is played during the film, not over the opening credits) is a highlight.  It's a catchy, pleasant, soothing tune that sounds to me like martini-drinking music.

La notte e fatta per..rubare was filmed in Monte Carlo, Madrid, and Rome between May and July of 1967, with the production company having already recouped its production costs from presales before filming even began. 
  • The April 13, 1967 Variety reported:  "Catherine Spaak has been cast in Italo film, 'Poor Yes, But Honest Never.' Giorgio Capitani will direct.  Philippe Leroy has male lead."
  • The May 15, 1967 Variety reported:  "Catherine Spaak has been signed for 'Night Is Made For Stealing'."
  • The June 28, 1967 Variety reported:  "Catherine Spaak, Philippe Leroy and director Giorgio Capitani returned from Monte Carlo locations to film wind-up interiors of 'The Night Is Made to Steal' in Rome."
  • The June 28, 1967 Variety included a story in which Silvio Clementelli discussed issues that he must consider in regard to production deals and marketing of his films worldwide.  It noted:  "He has no misgivings about his three-picture program for this year.  'Nights Are Made For Stealing,' now more than midway through production with Giorgi Capitano directing Catherine Spaak and Philippe Leroy, was presold in Europe and investment recovered before shooting started."
  • The July 12, 1967 Variety reported that Catherine was in Madrid to shoot "Night for a Robbery." 
  • The October 11, 1967 Variety (in reporting on Clementelli's films) noted that the film had wrapped in July. 
The film was released in Italy in the fall of 1967 and performed "nicely" at the box office, as did Catherine's recording of the title song.
  • The November 8, 1967 Variety reported:  "Catherine Spaak waxed the title tune of her latest film, 'The Night Is Made For Stealing.' Both pic and Ricordi platter are doing nicely.
Releases in Spain and Germany followed in 1968, and 1969 saw releases in France, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.  In 1970 the film was released in Mexico.  IMDB shows a 1973 release in the U.S., but I have so far been unable to find any information concerning an American release.

The film does not appear to have ever been released on DVD, but it was released at some point on VHS video in Italy. 

Here are some on-set photos/stills:

Here is the studio's program promoting the film (due to scanner limitations, about one inch is cut-off the bottom of each page):

Italian posters and fotobustas:

A French poster:

A Belgian poster (from the archives at

A Danish poster (from the archives at

An Austrian poster:

A 1977 German poster:

A German program:

An Argentinian poster (from the archives at

A Spanish poster:

A Cuban poster and Mexican lobby cards:

A Romanian poster and postcards:

A Turkish poster:

A Yugoslavian poster:



  1. Yes Janclerques, an Italian language version with no subtitles is the only one that I've ever seen. I'm not expecting a subtitled version (in any language) to show up anytime soon.

  2. The poster before the Mexican lobby cards is Cuban, trust me. It is.

  3. Thanks rohmerin. I've fixed it. I think that is the first Cuban poster that I've ever seen, although as is readily apparent, I'm far from an authority on Spanish language posters. At least I'm getting them out here for you to identify for us.

  4. Cuban film poster are into the Eastern Europe symbolist style, but much simpler than any Polish or Checoslovaco.

  5. Does anybody have a good quality copy of the movie in Italian (with or without subtitles)? Because honestly I think the VHS tapes must be getting past their peak quality by now. It would be nice if somebody did a progressive scan - higher definition upscaling digital version on a DVD or BLU-RAY. If anybody has tried this let me know - I would like to get a copy of this movie. (Other Spaak's too, but at least others "exist" in DVD.