March 12, 1984 12:00 PM

Maybe they can still make good B movies after all. While it has no pretensions to art or social commentary, this caper film is a stylish, witty escapist’s delight. It helps if the escapist is also a Tom Selleck fan. Selleck displays an offhand charm in the title role—he’s a cat burglar in pre-World War II London enlisted by British authorities to steal some gems from the German embassy. Selleck playing a cat burglar is like Woody Allen playing a tight end. But no matter. There is a spirited supporting cast, including Jane Seymour, Lauren Hutton, Bob (The Long Good Friday) Hoskins, Ed (The Amateur) Lauter and Joe (Missing) Regalbuto. Ken Thorne’s Dixielandish period music is delightful. David (Hanky Panky) Taylor’s script is compact and wry. At one point a Gestapo agent asks Selleck if he is an admirer of German culture. “Where I come from, we like things a bit lighter,” Selleck says. “Oh,” the Nazi sneers. “You mean like Mickey Mouse.” Director Roger Young, whose TV credits include Lou Grant and Selleck’s Magnum, P.I., frames some attractive London scenes and sets a snappy, sexy pace. As for Selleck, he and his mustache are in fine form. He is not afraid to look silly (at one point he ends up wearing Hutton’s dressing gown), and he exploits that charming vulnerability. If he isn’t likely to make anyone forget Laurence Olivier or Cary Grant, he may at least push Burt Reynolds into the back of people’s minds for a while.(R)

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