"The Italian Job" ending finally solved

Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:06am EST
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - It's one of the greatest cliff-hangers in movie history that has puzzled film fans for decades -- how to solve the conundrum at the end of the classic British film "The Italian Job."

In the 1969 movie's famous final scene, the gang of robbers find themselves trapped at one end of a bus teetering precariously over the side of a cliff while their stolen gold bullion is at the other end.

"Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea," says Charlie Croker, the gang's leader played by actor Michael Caine.

Now, the winner of a competition run by Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) might have solved the riddle of getting the gang and the gold out safely.

John Godwin came up with a three-pronged strategy to redistribute the weight-balance in the bus by knocking out the windows and draining the fuel tanks.

This would allow one of the gang to get out and load rocks on the bus, making the bus safe and allowing the gold to be rescued from the bus.

The RSC said it had picked out Godwin's theory from about 2,000 entries it had received which ranged from the ingenious, devious and quirky to the "frankly outrageous."

"Mr Godwin's entry is just the kind of practical thinking Croker would have used -- but he ably demonstrates the science behind the idea as well," said Dr Richard Pike, the RSC's chief executive.   Continued...

<p>One of the entries submitted to Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry on how to solve the conundrum at the end of the classic British film "The Italian Job." REUTERS/RSC/Handout</p>