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In a small seaside town in the middle of tourist season, an old eccentric, Ugo Bonacic is murdered. The homicide inspector leads the investigation, which directs him to a strange foreigner dressed in white, who came to town with an American diving team. During the investigation, he finds out that old Ugo had a copy of one of Titian paintings, to which unusual legend is bind. Finally, a new version of an old Titian painting legend is cleared up.
Ugo Bonacic (Vjekoslav Afric) is murdered in the still of the night and it appears to have been done due to a painting that he owned. As the police investigate his murder there's an American (William Campbell) who might have some sort of connection to the painting.
It's weird how film history works. Obviously there are masterpieces that continue to gain new fans each and every year. Then you've got some of the worst movies ever made that get a cult following because people want to see how bad they are. You've then got other types of movies that are known for one reason or another. In between the awful and the great movies are films that are just rather blah from start to finish, which is what we have with OPERATION TICIJAN.
Roger Corman helped fund this movie but when it was finished he realized that it wasn't sell-able so his producer brain kicked in. The film would eventually be released in a TV package with a shorter running time under the title PORTRAIT IN TERROR. Not happy with that, Corman would also have Jack Hill film new scenes and would release this version as BLOOD BATH. Finally, that version was too short for television so another director was hired to film even more new scenes and this version became known as TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE.
As far as OPERATION TICIJAN goes, it's a fairly well-made movie but there's just nothing here that makes it great or awful so what we're left with is a decent movie that would probably be forgotten if it weren't for the various versions of it that would be released over the years. It turns out that this original version was the least seen of all four and even though it features Campbell and Patrick Magee (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) it just doesn't have anything too interesting in it. There's some nice cinematography throughout the picture but the story is just downright confusing and never makes too much sense. Even worse is that the 95 minute running time feels twice as long.
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