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Leschenhaut and Morillon are trying to organize a plot to overthrow the French government and set up a new fascist organization. Their plans are interrupted by Davis, an American boxer, tutor of young Paul de Villemont; in Villemont Manor he discovers the plot and, after the kidnapping of the boy, he travels to Rome, where the organization would exchange Paul with a list of members stolen by Davis to give to the press. Written by
The "Tixier" graffito that Reno Davis (Peppard) passes twice on the riverbank refers to Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour who contested the 1965 French presidential election for the far-right - which would have made him a popular choice for some of the movie's protagonists. See more »
I went to see this at age 15 because I enjoyed the Stanley Ellin book it's based on. The movie is imitation Hitchcock of a very high order. (The climax in the Colosseum is pure Hitchcock.) Peppard is supposed to be a washed up boxer, and he has just the beat-up, world-weary sexiness the part needs. Inger Stevens is very glamorous as the lady of the house with her problems and secrets. The Paris setting is very well used, and that's important because the movie has a unique premise. The villains are pied noir terrorists left over from the Algerian revolution, displaced from their colonial home, reactionary, and deeply opposed to the French government of that appeaser DeGaulle. It gives a certain reality to the mysterious goings on. I thought the film did full justice to the novel, except that they unavoidably dispensed with the novel's use of Tarot cards to organize the chapters thematically. The music is great too. There's a title song in French that I'd love to have a recording of. It's sad to see Stevens looking so lovely and giving such a good performance so close to her tragic real-life suicide. She was special, and there's great chemistry between her and Peppard.
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