The Assassination Bureau has existed for decades (perhaps centuries) until Diana Rigg begins to investigate it. The high moral standing of the Bureau (only killing those who deserve it) is ... See full summary »
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The Assassination Bureau has existed for decades (perhaps centuries) until Diana Rigg begins to investigate it. The high moral standing of the Bureau (only killing those who deserve it) is called into question by her. She puts out a contract for the Bureau to assassinate its leader on the eve of World War I. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jack London's original novel was left markedly incomplete at the time of his death, and it was not until many decades later that the thriller-writer Robert L. Fish (also known as Robert L. Pike) finished it for publication, amidst much publicity. The novel is noticeably more serious in tone than this film. See more »
Stylish; Beautiful; Colorful Hilarious and Action-Filled; Classic Satire
If the awestruck viewer of this lovely, spacious-looking and delightful satire can get past the multiple locales, the elaborate and often-sumptuous style and the sheer colorfulness of the goings-on, there is a solid and interesting plot line under propping the entire gorgeous edifice. Behind the overwhelming "stylishness" that first greets the eyes, and it is a wonderfully varied and colorful production, Jack London's fascinating story of the "assassination bureau" has been updated by writer Robert L. Fish to be an "ethical" idea gone wrong. The basic premise is that the pragmatic and cynical end of the 19th Century with its pseudo-Christian thug-like monarchs, dynasts and empire-builders was unjust to individual victims. because this situation led some to wish the worst offenders removed from their tyrannies and interferences, Ivan Dragomilov's father created the Assassination Baureau, Ltd. However, an instrument designed to remove the worst offending baddies from an imperfect world has now become a murder-for-hire problem. Enter Diana Rigg, who finds out how to hire the Bureau to take a contract on--Ivan Dragomilov, played intelligently by Oliver reed. He accepts the contract, recognizing what his father's "noble instrument" has been allowed to become. The remainder of the film's scenes then feature a long and fascinatingly funny duel between Rigg and Oliver and the bureau's chiefs, against whom Reed has declared war. These stalwarts include stalwarts such as the great Curt Jurgens in Germany, Cilve Revill in Italy, Telly Savals in London and others in Paris and elsewhere. Sweeping scenes such as the French bordello scenes, the German Restaurant duel, the hilarious Italian caper, the flaming-lighter escape on the train trick and others lead to the climactic race to save London from Savalas's explosive plot. The lovely mounting of the production is highlighted by Basil Dearden's wonderful ability with actors, blocking, and camera-work, Art Director Michael Relph's award-level contributions, magnificent costumes luminous lighting and many other achievements. Many other actors including Beryl Reed, Philippe Noiret and pretty Annabella Incontrera contributed; Ron Grainer's music is a great asset also. But I believe what sets this satirical thriller apart is its realistic ethical dimension; the fact that the Age of Empire was an age of evil governments and unethical pretensions by state tsars has not even now been recognized. This long and intensely-diverting film is a beautiful-polished needle that pricks a much-needed hole in the gasbag of public-interest-tyranny's post modernistic pretensions. It is a film that deserves to be laughed with, applauded and considered carefully for its positive sense-of-life and all-around sparkling wit, dialogue and spirit of adventurous fun.
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