Cinema: Schlemiel Quartet

THE HOT ROCK

Directed by PETER YATES Screenplay by WILLIAM GOLDMAN

Years ago, when Edmund Wilson wrote an acerbic essay on mystery novels, his title — and his theme — was "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?" The same skepticism might be directed toward a subspecies of the mystery genre known as the caper story, wherein a skilled handful of professionals try to steal a certain invaluable object from a certain impregnable fortress. The trouble with such yarns is that they tend to be about mechanics, not people. Unable to believe in the characters,...

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