THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER director Henry Hathaway made just about every kind of movie during his long career that spanned from the 1932 western WHEN THE WEST WAS YOUNG to the 1974 blaxploitation thriller SUPER DUDE. This above-average 1960 casino crime caper came out several months before the Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin epic OCEANS ELEVEN. The Hathaway takes place in France instead of Las Vegas and concerns an elderly ex-con, Professor Theo Wilkins (Edward G. Robinson of LITTLE CAESAR), who wants to make the world gasp for one last time. He has orchestrated a highly complex robbery at a Monte Carlo casino that will net his accomplices and he some 4 million dollars in French money. He entices an old and dear friend, Paul Mason (Rod Steiger of DUCK YOU SUCKER), as the man who ramrods the operation. Paul straightens out everybody on the crew that he has the final word in everything. He also checks them out and tests them so he can be sure that they are reliable in a tight spot. One of the conspirators is a gorgeous stripper, Melanie (Joan Collins of LAND OF THE PHARAOHS), who strings along a timid, uptight casino secretary Raymond Le May (Alexander Scourby of THE BIG HEAT) to help them obtain invitations to an exclusive party the same night they plan to pull the robbery. Paul falls in love with Melanie while they are working out the precise plans. They also enlist the aid of a safer cracker, Louis Antonizzi (Michael Dante of RAINTREE COUNTY), and a friend of Melanie, Poncho (Eli Wallach of BABY DOLL) who is supposed to impersonate a wealthy baron confined to a wheelchair with a terrible temper. The night of the heist, Poncho is supposed to fake a heart attack so they can have an ambulance arrive. The ambulance is being driven by another conspirator Hugo Baumer (Berry Kroeger of HITLER) who handles the automobiles that they use for the robbery. Meantime, Paul and Louis have to do a little ledge walking to reach the casino vault. The actual robbery does not generate any thrills and SEVEN THIEVES suffers from a shortage of suspense. Remember, back in 1960 when this movie was produced, the Production Code Administration still had enough clout to censor movies and they were not about to let these talented thieves get away with their crime. The way that Hathaway and scenarist Sydney Boehm work things out is not entirely satisfactory but it does make for a better ending that all of them being nabbed by French authorities.