Nick The Sting 1976 ***

Even if the central premise is straight from George Roy Hill’s The Sting, Fernando Di Leo’s Eurotrash thriller has so much else going on that it’s pointless to complain. The Italian director has oodles of style, and the fashions, wallpaper and charismatic performances do plenty to keep things fun to watch. Con artist  Nick Hezard (Luc Merenda) is set up by Robert Turner (Lee J Cobb), an American gangster, as the fall guy for an insurance job. Nick doesn’t take it lying down; he engages a small army of friends and associates in an elaborate heist aimed at stealing Turner’s money and destroying his reputation.  The sting itself is quite ingenious, and the locations (mostly Geneva) add a unique flavour. Merenda looks great as Nick, with a range of substantial roll-neck sweaters to boot, and most of the cast make an impression, including William Berger and Dagmar Lassander. A couple of violent scenes are at odds with the jovial atmosphere, but that’s 1976 for you; appealing to an adult audience, Nick The Sting makes light of crime, and given the woes of Italy at the time, that’s no mean feat.


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