Bad accents, poor sets, and clumsy direction help to derail dark-hued comedy-drama...
Poorly written and directed TV-movie from Universal has blissfully naïve American tourist Shirley Booth agreeing to 'smuggle' a religious statue over the Italian border from Austria for a charming man she's befriended at the inn; incredulous step-daughter Carol Lynley fears the mysterious crate contains drugs, while French detective Donnelly Rhodes suspects contraband arms. Mixture of lighthearted folly and macabre elements really needed a graceful, nimble touch to come off, yet this thing is far too heavy and flat to be much fun. Michael J. Pollard turns up as an Italian half-wit with a homicidal streak; his accent seems picked up from a local Italian restaurant--and he's nothing compared to Rhodes' quasi-Frenchman (with wiggly eyebrows!). Intended, I'm sure, to be a pleasant whiff of an entertainment designed as a showcase for Booth's joie de vivre (which is reminiscent of Thelma Ritter's in her later period). Shirley is indeed colorful and hammy, but this below-average script plays like a failed TV pilot (and one chock full of European stereotypes). The darker, meaner overtures are interesting, but do not work in this la-di-da context, while Lynley passes the time rolling her eyes and making exaggerated faces. "The Smugglers" is harmless after all, which may be one reason why it has all but been forgotten.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?