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Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)

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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 774 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 8 critic

A paroled conman co-ordinates the robbery of an L. A. Airport bank with the arrival of the Russians Premier.



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Title: Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eli Kotch
Inger Knudson
Eddie Hart
Nina Wayne ...
Frieda Schmid
Milo Stewart
Margaret Kirby
Todd Armstrong ...
Alfred Morgan
Dr. Marion Hague (as Marian Moses)
Paul Feng
Severn Darden ...
Miles Fisher
James Westerfield ...
Jack Balter
Phillip Pine ...
George Logan (as Phillip E. Pine)
Simon Scott ...
William Anderson
Ben Astar ...
General Mailenkoff
Michael St. Angel ...
Captain William Yates


Involved crime drama about an intricate plan to rob an airport bank. Watch for the surprise ending and look quickly for a barely-recognizable Harrison Ford in his film debut, playing a bellhop. Written by Brett England

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The slickest swingin'est con man who ever took the world for a ride!


Crime | Comedy | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

25 December 1966 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Pre-release/working title was "Eli Kotch." See more »


Frieda Schmid: You have to admit that since we disagree on everything, we have a lot in common.
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User Reviews

DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND (Bernard Girard, 1966) **
27 September 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

To call this would-be 'with it' caper comedy muddled is a gross understatement – indeed, Bernard Girard the director should have fired Bernard Girard the writer because an admittedly ingenious premise has only resulted in a relentlessly dull movie! Hero James Coburn, with a permanent grin on his face, is involved in so many schemes on his way to rob Los Angeles' LAX airport (which brought back memories of my stay in the city three years ago, extending to the similarity of hotel interiors): in fact, he dupes a variety of people during the course of the narrative – including lovely leading lady Camilla Sparv (already ex-Mrs. Robert Evans by the time the film was released and who won a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer, over Candice Bergen and Lynn Redgrave[!], even if her career seemed to wither soon after); consequently, it's all needlessly (indeed painfully) stretched to 107 minutes!

To add to the confusion (not to say dejection), we get a dreary subplot revolving around the visit of a Russian official to the United States and the elaborate (though not always successful) security measures American agencies – led by Robert Webber and assisted by an impossibly youthful Todd Armstrong (from the Ray Harryhausen opus JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS [1963]!) – have to undertake for this purpose. As with many films of its ilk from this 'anything goes' era, the title is a reference to nothing in particular – to be sure, it surfaces in the plot as the name of a book ostensibly written by Coburn (under one of the innumerable aliases he hides behind); again, typically, the criminals (also including Aldo Ray in an underwritten part) are allowed to get away with it…though there's a nice ironic final twist when the author – who has unaccountably gone 'missing' but, apparently, truly existed – is found to have left his vast fortune to bewildered 'bride' Sparv!

This was my third effort from its little-known director in a relatively brief period of time – the first was intriguing but invincibly low-key, THE MIND SNATCHERS (1972), the second a Godawful (and barely-released) Western spoof called GONE WITH THE WEST (1975); the "Leonard Maltin Film Guide", then, awards DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND a very respectable *** – hence, it ranks as yet another disappointment! Incidentally, the star made innumerable films in this vein during the 1960s and 1970s – where his narcissistic and arrogant personality comes off as overbearing and, therefore, alienating: up next, in fact, is DUFFY (1968) which, despite rating an even lower *1/2, it's one I'd long been curious about in view of its rather interesting credentials…

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