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An American sleuth looks into a British case where life insurance policy holders are seemingly killed of one after another by an unknown assassin firing poisoned bullets made of ice. -You gotta love that kind of set up. The investigation takes him all around the globe in a fast paced, and wonderfully illogical Bondesque "krimi", crammed packed with exotic locations, sharp threads, seriously groovy music and jet seting thrills. With names like Ernesto Gastaldi and Sergio Martino involved Duello nel mondo adds up to a proper treat for any fan of 60's euro crime. And keep an ear out for that ferocious Piero Umiliani soundtrack!
"Ring Around the World" is a good movie, even in a full screen copy
such as I watched, but a very reasonably-priced wide screen version is
Richard Harrison plays the character Fred Lester. He's been commissioned by an insurance company headed by Bernard Blier to investigate a possible series of deaths that look accidental but may not be. We know they are not because we see the hit man, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, shooting the victims with a frozen bullet that dissolves, leaving no trace but causing a heart attack.
The character of Lester is unique. He looks unassuming, like a college preppie dressed in a suit and wearing dark-rimmed glasses, sometimes black and sometimes brown. He walks right into trouble but finds ways out. He's serious but at the same time jocular in his own way. He has martial arts skills, but doesn't always use them. He almost comes across at times like he blunders into things without too much thought, but he's often deceptively playing at being taken in. He usually is holding back on some trump card.
Harrison makes a fine lead in this movie, handling his part with a kind of deadpan ease but conveying his physique beneath his suits. His opposite number, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, is equally adept at playing the professional hit man. He brings to life every movie I've ever seen him in. He was a definite asset to the euro-movie scene.
For the feminine angle, the movie features Helene Chanel, another euro stalwart. Harrison and Chanel work together for the last portion of the story, flying off to Hong Kong. In an earlier sequence, Harrison goes up against Suart (billed as Jack Stuart in many movies) in Rio and then Brasilia. The sequence in Brasilia is fascinating because the city is so spacious and empty, kind of spooky to see a car chase with almost no other cars on the wide roads.
This is not imitative of James Bond. There are a few small gimmicks but Harrison doesn't rely on any of them. He's also not another Harry Palmer. His unique character adds interest to the story.
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