Release date1974 (1974) WriterGerald A. Browne (based on the novel by), Jeffrey Bloom (screenplay), Charles Grodin (adaptation) ScreenplayCharles Grodin, Jeffrey Bloom CastCharles Grodin (Howard R. Chesser), Candice Bergen (Maren Shirell), James Mason (Charles D. Watts), Trevor Howard (Clyde Massey), John Gielgud (Meecham), Helen Cherry (Lady Anne Bolding) Similar moviesTower Heist, The Score, Kaleidoscope, Happy New Year, Horseplay, Skeem
TaglineUltra Suspense. The best seller made America hold its breath for 225 pages. Now it shatters your nerves with the most incredible robbery on film.
11 harrowhouse 1974 original theatrical trailer
11 Harrowhouse is a 1974 British film directed by Aram Avakian. It was adapted by Charles Grodin based upon the novel by Gerald A. Browne with the screenplay by Jeffrey Bloom. It stars Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard and John Gielgud.
In England, a small-time diamond merchant (Grodin) is unexpectedly offered the chance to supervise the purchase and cutting of an extremely large diamond to be named for its wealthy owner (Howard). When the diamond is stolen from him, he is blackmailed into pulling off a major heist at "The System," located at 11 Harrowhouse, with the help of his beautiful and wealthy girlfriend (Bergen). The key figure in the theft, however, is the inside man Watts (Mason) who works in the vault at The System. He is dying of cancer and wants to leave his family financially secure.
Although "The System" has an elaborate system of defenses and alarms against intruders, the robbery is carried out at night by gaining access to the roof from an adjacent property and threading a hose down a conduit into the vault, where Watts uses it to vacuum up thousands of rough diamonds out of their drawers. The thieves leave before the robbery is discovered, and when found in the vault in the morning, Watts claims to have eaten the gems. Most of the loot is buried in concrete, to prevent it flooding the market.
Charles Grodin as Howard R. Chesser
Candice Bergen as Maren Shirell
James Mason as Charles D. Watts
Trevor Howard as Clyde Massey
John Gielgud as Meecham, the head man at the System.
Time Magazine reviewed the film positively, and described the cast as "poised and stylish."
A prominent theme of the film revolves around how the primary world diamond producer controls the price of diamonds by creating artificial scarcity, much as oil producers do today.
The film has been screened in two versions in the past - both with and without a retrospective commentary from Grodin's character, H.R. Chesser. Only the version without commentary seems to be widely available in published form, and neither version seems to have been screened to great extent on TV, though the original version with commentary holds up very well today. The film was released on LaserDisc by Fox Video in Widescreen Format and with the commentary intact.
On 2 February 2011 Shout! Factory is to release the film for the first time on DVD, but only on Region 1 (USA) Disc.