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UK:Riddle of suspense in The Italian Job solved, film buffs say

23 Jan 2009 8:36 PM

LONDON, Jan 23 DPA - The question of how to solve the agonising suspense at the end of the iconic film The Italian Job has troubled cinema-goers for years.

Now around 2,000 members of the public in Britain, responding to a competition organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), have come up with an answer.

In the 1960s British film the robbers' coach almost drives off a cliff, ending up balanced precariously on the edge, with the gang at one end and their gold at the other.

In the conclusion to the 1969 movie, Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine, tries to reach the gold, but as he does so, the coach tips up dangerously.

The film ends with him saying: "Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea."

The winning answer came from John Godwin who suggested stabilising the coach by draining fuel from it and deflating its wheels to stop it rocking.

Weight distribution would have been changed by emptying the fuel tank which Godwin discovered was at the rear of the coach.

A member of the gang would leave the coach and bring rocks in to the front of the vehicle to ensure it was stable and the gold could be removed.

"There're several sheets of maths here," said Godwin, from the county of Surrey, near London. "It was a good long day with a calculator."