When United States Mint employee Harry Lucas (Jim Hutton) inadvertently destroys $50,000, he enlists the aid of retired printer Pop Gillis (Walter Brennan) and expert safecracker Avery Dugan (Jack Gilford) to steal the engraving plates. Deafened by his work in prison, Dugan gets a hearing aid from pawnbroker Luther Burton (Milton Berle) who, learning of the plot, cuts himself in. As the scheme's "manager," Luther then brings in Ralph (Joey Bishop), who works in the sewer and can help them reach the Mint; the Captain, an operator of kiddie playground "boats" that can navigate the sewers; and Willie (Bob Denver), an ice cream vendor to be used as a decoy for attractive busybody Verna (Dorothy Provine). Newly remastered. 1966/color/103 min/NR/widescreen.
Very much in the vein of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Who's Minding the Mint? is a far-fetched, densely-plotted heist comedy that features a large cast of familiar comic talents. Although largely unknown, Mint is a surprisingly engaging bit of silliness, the kind of film one approaches with low expectations and which pleasantly surprises one. Director/screenwriter Frank Tashlin had a lot of experience working in cartoons at Warner Bros., and it shows in the screwy but careful build of improbable situation upon improbable situation. The pace is fast and lively, rarely pausing long enough to let one ponder the unlikely nature of the story or of the characters' actions. The cast is a delight, with Jim Hutton turning in a sweet and appealing performance as the harried employee. The roster of comedians involved also shines, with special mention going to Jack Gilford and Victor Buono; the sight of the latter sinking into the sewer, holding onto a miniature American flag, is especially memorable. Mint is finally too silly to amount to much, but it's silly in an endearing and charming way. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi