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Wow, no user comments at all for "Istanbul Express"? That's kind of surprising, even given the film's relative obscurity.
Gene Barry plays an American art dealer who occasionally also works as a government secret agent. His latest assignment is to travel to Istanbul by train and out-bid representatives from various countries around the world in an auction about some recently unearthed research documents from a famous (now dead) scientist. The money he will need is in a safety deposit box of a bank in Istanbul, and throughout his journey contacts of all shapes and sizes approach him and give him one number of the account at a time. But some passengers on the train are working for "the other side", and they will try to prevent Barry from reaching his destination....
Bright Technicolor photography, genuine on-location shooting in beautiful Venice, Istanbul and (briefly) Paris and flavorful music make "Istanbul Express" more successful as a travelogue than anything else, but it's not bad as an espionage thriller, either - in fact, it has some classical genre touches ("Now that you have the numbers....reverse them!") that have been curiously absent from the James Bond movies for a long time now. You can tell it's a TV production, not only because of the obvious cues for commercial breaks, but also because of the "PG"-level violence and the lack of "big" action set-pieces. But it's a slick, good-looking TV production, and certainly superior to a lot of "theatrical" spy films of the same era. Senta Berger has a small but important role. **1/2 out of 4.
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