After reading a great post on Art Blog by Bob about famous forger, Han van Meegeren, I was reminded of the 1966 William Wyler film How to Steal a Million, starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. It's an art-heist romantic comedy featuring some great performances.
Audrey Hepburn stars as Nicole Bonnet--a hard-working, earnest young woman who whose father, Charles Bonnet (a delightful Hugh Griffith) just happens to be a brilliant art forger who's made a fortune passing his work off as originals by old masters. One night while her father is out for the evening, Nicole discovers a rather well-mannered burglar (Peter O'Toole) who appears to be stealing one of her father's paintings. After accidentally shooting him, she drives him home so that the police won't be called (the paint is still drying on the canvas of the fake Van Gogh that O'Toole appeared to be stealing).
Later, Nicole's father Charles receives a visit from a museum that wants to borrow the family's "Cellini Venus"--the sculpture that forms the foundation of the Bonnet family's reputation as great art collectors. Charles signs a form insuring the sculpture for 1 million dollars, only to discover that in doing so he's effectively consented to have the sculpture tested to insure its authenticity. After confessing to his daughter that the sculpture is a fake, sculpted by her grandfather, with her grandmother posing--"before she started having those enormous lunches!"--Griffith's character panics, fearing the sculpture will be exposed as a fake and destroy his reputation.
Nicole reassures her father that she has an idea: she'll enlist the help of the burglar she's met (Peter O'Toole) in order to steal the sculpture back from the museum, before they can finalise the tests. What follows is a humorous caper film, filled with great views of Paris (the old Hotel Ritz, in particular). Hepburn also sports a memorable, elegant Givenchy wardrobe. The film is great, light-hearted fare. Eli Wallach puts in a particularly memorable performance as a crazed art collector who will do anything to get his hands on "the Venus."
The following scene takes place at Nicole Bonnet's mansion, after O'Toole's character has broken in to test one of her father's paintings.
Image courtesy Amazon.com