Picks and Pans Review: Rough Cut

updated 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In 1936 Cary Grant made a film, Big Brown Eyes, about a detective chasing a jewel thief. It was no artistic triumph, but didn't ruin anyone's career. In 2024 or so, people may be saying the same thing about this harmless romantic caper starring Burt Reynolds. It's another spin on the gentleman-diamond robber theme, whose style, wit and tension were pretty well exhausted by the time of To Catch a Thief and The Pink Panther original. Rough Cut director Don Siegel is responsible for a varied, admirable range of work—including the first Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Elvis' Flaming Star and Dirty Harry. Here he overdoses on close-ups of Reynolds, who plays the thief, and Lesley-Anne Down, his elegant if reluctant moll. They're both gorgeous, but once Burt has gone gamely through his arsenal of lovable expressions and Lesley-Anne has run out of possible hairstyles, their faces are left up on the screen looking huge and uneasy. Yet David Niven, 70, adds class as a Scotland Yard inspector in a vendetta against Reynolds, and there are a couple of mildly surprising twists. If this isn't a diamond in the rough, it's at times a tolerable imitation. (PG)

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