Jack of Diamonds (1967): Don Taylor’s Heist Picture, Starring George Hamilton

A low-grade Topkapi kind of movie, done up in expensive style, Jack of Diamonds  starred George Hamilton as an international cat burglar and jewel thief.

Grade: C (*1/2* out of *****)

A master thief, known as the Ace of Diamonds, he decides it’s time to retire before he gets caught, so he transmits his knowledge to Jeff Hill, his protege.

Jeff begins pulling off heists, singling out glamorous film stars like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Carroll Baker and Lilli Palmer (all playing themselves in cameo roles) and then stealing their precious jewels.

On a luxury liner, Jeff, nicknamed the “Jack of Diamonds,” discovers he has a competitor aboard, another burglar pulling the same kinds of thefts. The Ace advises Jeff to quit while he’s ahead.

Jeff encounters a woman named Olga who introduces him to Nicolai, and after discovering that Olga was the other thief, Jeff schemes to rob a bank in Paris. They are caught, but the Ace claims responsibility for the crime, sacrificing himself for Jeff.

The thieves agree to return the jewels, but when Jeff and Olga decide to get married, they realize that Nicolai has withheld one gem as a present for Olga.

Producer Sandy Howard described George Hamilton as “a fine actor, and hot commodity,” due in part to his dating the President’s daughter. He was drafted into the army but received a 3-A deferral notice on the grounds he was the sole financial provider for his mother. Hamilton’s draft deferment became controversial, based on the belief that his relationship with the political elite gave him preferential treatment.

Reviews for the film were negative, and it was declared a failure.

George Hamilton as Jeff
Joseph Cotten as the Ace
Marie Laforêt as Olga
Maurice Evans as Nicolai
Zsa Zsa Gabor as Herself
Carroll Baker as Herself
Lilli Palmer as Herself