Assault on a Queen (1966) Poster

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To Have and Have Not Meets The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.
bkoganbing6 June 2004
Frank Sinatra just got tired of challenges in his movie parts during the mid sixties and this film is the perfect example of same. Sinatra is doing a pale imitation of Humphrey Bogart's character in To Have And Have Not and he's even got a drunken companion in Errol John, just like Bogey had Walter Brennan. In walks Lauren Bacall in the form of Virna Lisi into Sinatra's life. Only problem is she's already spoken for by Tony Franciosa.

Tony, Virna, and former U-Boat captain Alf Kjellin are hunting for sunken treasure and hire Sinatra as a diver. When he spots a sunken U-Boat the plans change. Oh, boy we're going to become pirates instead and we're going to rob the Queen Mary. Along the way the gang picks up Richard Conte who became a Sinatra hanger-on in the last years of his career. He's a mechanic who fixes up the boat, barely.

Well these geniuses with thousands of miles of open sea to do their crime, decide to rob the Queen in U.S. waters where the Coast Guard is operating. What happens to this bunch and their budding careers as pirates is the rest of the movie.

Sinatra just sails through this part on his hipster reputation and Virna Lisi is decorative. The acting honors go to Tony Franciosa who actually tries to do some serious acting in his part as charming sleazeball Victor Rossiter.

The script is by Rod Serling who should have stuck to the surreal world of The Twilight Zone. And Duke Ellington contributed an original jazz score. Around that time Sinatra and Ellington did an album together called Francis A. meets Edward K. Now that was good collaboration.

Old Blue Eyes should have stuck to the charter boat and diving in this film.
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German Technology?
claudio_carvalho5 April 2019
The former Navy military and friends Mark Brittain (Frank Sinatra) and Linc Langley (Errol John) are hired by the treasure hunters Vic Rossiter (Anthony Franciosa), Rosa Lucchesi (Virna Lisi) and Eric Lauffnauer (Alf Kjellin) to dive seeking a sank boat with a treasure. Mark finds a World War II German submarine instead and they decide to recover the submarine to heist the Queen Mary. The mechanic Tony Moreno (Richard Conte) joins the team and they use the submarine that is partially sailing to lure the Captain of the Queen Mary to steal the safe. Will their plan work?

"Assault on a Queen" is an adventure with a silly premise. The idea of recovering a submarine after twenty years sank in sea waters is stupid and practically impossible. Sailing an old submarine with a small unexperienced crew is also terrible. Last but not the least, the lack of chemistry between Frank Sinatra and Virna Lisi destroys any chance of a successful romantic pair. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "Assalto a um Transatlântico" ("Assault on a Transatlantic")
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Terrific novel but poorly directed film
djb89632811 April 2012
First of all, this poster for this movie is incredible. One of my all time favorites. This movie was really hard to find until recently (just came out on blu-ray April 2012) so years ago I found an old paperback of the Jack Finney novel and read it. Loved the story. Then, finally, I was able to see the movie ... disappointing. My biggest complaint is the direction: absolutely flaccid, dull and without any creativity. Not surprisingly the director, Jack Donohue, was a hack TV director almost his entire career and only directed a handful of movies - none of them good. And so Assault on a Queen feels soooo slow when it really should be fast paced and have high energy. The great Rod Serling wrote the script from a fun novel, so I'm not going to blame the writing. And the acting was fine too. The only other problem was the music: poorly used and sparse and never seemed appropriate for the scene. I suppose I can blame the director for this too since he'd be the one overseeing where it was used.

Anyway, worth watching for fans of 60s heist movies. I like it, but wish it were better.
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Standard heist with Sinatra!
shepardjessica-111 December 2004
Nothing special about this one..Sinatra doing his usual under-acting, but Anthony Franciosa is usually interesting, and Virna Lisi is one of the great Italian beauties of the 1960's. Alf Kjellin and Richard Conte are decent actors, but this one drags about half the time. A 5 out of 10.Best performance = Mr. Franciosa.

Films like this were common in the mid-60's and Sinatra never seemed to have a clue. Sorry Frank! Anything with Virna Lisi as the main female is always worth checking out. Simply gorgeous with intelligence and a great voice. There's not much else to recommend it and there are no surprises.
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Not very exciting
HotToastyRag13 September 2017
Remember how exciting The African Queen was, when Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, a very unlikely pair, unite to attack a German boat during WWI? Well, if you liked that movie, watch it again. Assault on a Queen is nothing like it, even though the plot involves an unlikely group uniting to "assault" a boat in an old WW2 German submarine they've adopted.

The band of misfits includes the slick thief Anthony Franciosa, his bombshell lover Virna Lisi, the reluctant Errol John, a tired Frank Sinatra, Richard Conte, and Alf Kjellin. With Tony and Frankie, there's more than just a tug-of-war for Virni's, well, let's be nice and say her heart; they also frequently argue about who's really in charge of the mission. Tony's pretty clearly drawn out to be the bad guy, since he racially bates Errol John, pimps out his girlfriend to mess with Frankie's head, and plans the heist.

I've seen a lot of heist movies, but this one just doesn't cut the mustard. Maybe it was the timing, or maybe the characters were too one-dimensional, but Assault on a Queen isn't very thrilling.
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Interesting Heist Movie
bill-231524 August 2017
Frank Sinatra starred in two memorable heist movies in the 1960s. The first was Ocean's Eleven (1960), which brought the Rat Pack together for a film that Sinatra is said to have remarked "Forget the movie. Let's do the heist!"

The second was sci-fi writer Jack Finney's Assault on a Queen (1966). Despite its mediocre rating here on IMDb, it's actually a fascinating film marred only by rather cheap special effects (Sinatra's diving scenes look like they were shot in a backyard pool) and the sometimes ridiculous Rod Serling script. "She's so deep in my gut we breathe together" is the worst line, and one that Sinatra must have needed more than a few drinks to articulate.

Meanwhile, Virna Lisi appears as little more than eye candy in the film, and Anthony Franciosa's character is rather repugnant and oily. However, there are some good scenes with Sinatra and fellow Rat Pack member Richard Conte, and the movie would have benefited greatly if their two characters had been given more time together.

It's definitely worth watching, and Sinatra's acting is great as usual despite the weak script.
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"I can think of 'a hundred' better ways to die!"
bensonmum24 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Frank Sinatra plays a Mark Brittain, a charter boat captain operating in the Caribbean. Needing cash, he agrees to work for a group doing some treasure hunting. Instead of gold or jewels, he finds a WWII era German submarine. Just as any rational human being would, the group decides to get the sub into running order and use it to rob the Queen Mary. Makes perfect sense, right?

Overall, Assault on a Queen is a very disappointing film. The majority of the runtime can best be described as lifeless. Director Jack Donohue's direction is strictly by-the-numbers. He brings little in the way of innovation that adds interest to the proceedings. Star Frank Sinatra doesn't help as he sleepwalks his way to a paycheck. There's none of that Sinatra sparkle evident here. Most of the rest of the cast seemed to be just as disinterested. It's a shame - with Sinatra, Richard Conte, Anthony Franciosa, Alf Kjellin, and the gorgeous Virna Lisi, I expected better. Throw in an insanely ludicrous plot and you've got the recipe for a real loser.

I'll give this one a generous 4/10.
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A nice crime movie for the seas
Ed-Shullivan5 November 2013
Hollywood was cranking out a ton of these type of crime movies in the 1960's. I found Assault on a Queen to be one of the better ones. In fact I liked Frank Sinatra's character better in this title than his role in the better known and received 1960's version of Ocean 11. The movie's plot was not as absurd as some critics would like you to think it was.

Frank plays Mark Brittain a former navy officer who intends to raise a sunken world war II German submarine, clean it up and repair it then sail it out to the middle of the ocean, and wait for the Queen Mary to cross paths, then board the Queen Mary and steal the ships most precious cargo, cash and gold.

Frank meets up with a couple who can underwrite the funding of the German submarine's salvage and repair and who are willing to join the crew to rob the Queen Mary on the high seas. Richard Conte plays an ex navy mechanic named Tony Moreno whose assignment is to get the submarine sea worthy. Virna Lisi is the attractive Italian financier and her male companion is a young and good looking Anthony Franciosa. Anthony plays a bit of a slime ball boyfriend named Vic Rossiter who treats Virna Lis's character Rosa Lucchesi as more of a possession than as his soul mate. Rosa invariably falls for the strong and true character of Mark Brittain which causes more than a little tension on the submarine between Mark and Vic.

Without spoiling the ending suffice to say that there is some drama and danger on the high seas when Sinatra's crew board the Queen Mary. The plan was to go off like clockwork, but they encountered more than a bit of rough water if you get my drift. (No pun intended)

I thought the movies criminal plot was very original and the acting of the three main characters played by Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi and Anthony Franciosa was excellent. The movie moved along at a great pace because the story line was original, and the acting was stellar. Not a very big cast, and the scenery is limited to mainly life on the submarine, but I enjoyed the story line for a 1960's crime movie that is well worth watching if you like the adventure/crime genre.
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Heist movie at sea
lorenellroy27 November 2007
This movie has some heavyweight names among its writing team .The script is by Rod Serling -he of The Twilight Zone fame-and it is based on a novel by Jack Finney ,whose book Invasion of the Body Snatchers has given rise to some fine movies.This is probably the most mainstream movie they have been associated with -and a pretty poor one it is too.

Sinatra had made a big hit with the caper movie Ocean's 11 and probably assumed another heist movie would ring the box office chimes too .Sadly ,this movie lacks even 10% of the qualities that made the earlier picture so successful -plausibility, a good support cast and a decent director The Queen of the title is the Queen Mary and Sinatra and his gang -Richard Conte ,Tony Franciosa ,Virni Lisi and Alf Kjellin plan to rob it and steal the money ,jewels etc of its well heeled passengers .The heist involves first raising a U-Boat once commanded by Kjellin from the bottom of the sea and then using it to board the liner

The acting -Kjellin apart -is dire ,the direction by Jack Donahue is so anonymous as to be non-existent and the whole enterprise is dead in the water . It is likely to interest Sinatra lovers ,sea movie nuts and Anglo-phobes while others -especially those in search of entertainment -are advised to look elsewhere
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Assault on a queue, really
ptb-817 September 2011
This 'start studded' seawater heist is a clapped together Paramount pantomime with terrible studio scenes apparently pretending to be inside a submarine and some deck bound extra shots on the real Queen Mary. the last 40 minutes of the film are just stupefying with the sort of Navy surplus store fittings not seen on screen since THE QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE tried to fool us with hardware store bunks and pipes. Frank Sinatra gives his usual one note acting performance, and the hilarious scenes where their toy submarine apparently gets stuck under the Queen Mary allows the sedated viewer to see the bottom of the swimming pool in which they are filmed. One scene at the end where the Coast Guard ship is supposed to ram the submarine is, incredulously, filmed in the studio using a screen of the ship bow, a bucket of water flung across the set and then the cardboard conning tower is pushed over. Virna Lisi is hilarious as she totters about the submarine, gasping and hold in on for dear life. If you had paid for a ticket to this in any year you'd want a refund or a good look at Ms Lisi's treasure chest at least.
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Average and sloppy heist movie about a group of robbers who aim the Queen Mary
ma-cortes13 May 2022
A motley crew of treasure hunters on the high seas join to carry out a twisted objective : to rob millions of dollars of cash, gold and jewels from a noisy cruise-liner . As they give up their treasure hunt and instead turn to piracy . When the treasure hunters in the Caribbean come across a sunken U-Boat they plan a complex scheme by refloating the WWII German submarine to hold-up the safe from the cruise-liner RMS Queen Mary, resulting in unexpected consequences. Ahoy for the heist of all time! . The pack is sticking up the Queen Mary! . They stick up the Queen Mary in mid Atlantic . He's an I've-tried-everything guy. She's an I'll-try-anything girl.

The tired plot is plain as well as simple and doesn't make sense , dealing with a group of adventurers who proceed a very large heist using a recovered WW2 German submarine . This is an unusual film to come from the pen of Sci-fi expert Rod Serling who wrote such big hits as ¨Seven Days in May¨ and ¨Planet of Apes¨ . Here Serling settles for pure escapist amusement , without a hidden meaning in sight . Shot on the real Queen Mary , in fact the producers acknowledge wiith gratitude .. the cooperation of the Cunard Steam-Ship Company Limited and the assistance of the Queen Mary's captain , officers and crew and the cooperation of the US Coast Guard Headquarters , Washington D. C. Coast Guard Audo-visual unit Hollywood , and the personnel of the Coast Guard Cutters in Miami and in Long Beach California .

Stars Frank Sinatra as the American Mark Brittain who served on subs in the Pacific and giving an acceptable acting in his ordinary style . Frank was in his best cinematic period in the 50s and 60s , after winning Academy Award as a secondary actor for From here to Eternity (1953) . He continued providing strong and enjoyable performances in such films as Guys and Dolls (1955), The Joker Is Wild (1957) and Some Came Running (1958). In the late 1950s and 1960s Sinatra became somewhat prolific as a producer , turning out such films as A hole in the head (1959), Three Sergeants (1962) and the memorable Robin and the seven Hoods (1964). Lighter roles alongside "Rat Pack" buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Were lucrative, especially the famed and successful Ocean's Eleven (1960) . On the other hand , he alternated such projects with much more serious offerings, such as The Manchurian Candidate (1962), regarded by many critics as Sinatra's finest picture. He made his directorial debut with the World War II picture None But the Brave (1965), which was the first Japanese/American co-production. That same year Colonel Von Ryan (1965) was a box office sensation . In 1967 Sinatra returned to familiar territory in Sidney J. Furie's The Naked runner (1967), once again playing as assassin in his only film to be shot in the U. K. and Germany . That same year he starred as a private investigator in Tony Rome (1967), a role he reprised in the sequel, Lady in cement (1968). He also starred with Lee Remick in The detective (1968). He's well accompanied by a good support with plenty of known secondaries such as : the gorgeous Italian Virna Lisi , Anthony Franciosa , Richard Conte , Alf Kjellin , Errol John, Murray Matheson , Reginald Denny , all of them do little more than go through the motions in this dull , boring enterprise . The motion picture was regularly directed by Jack Donohue . He was an usual TV movies director and a television craftsman making a large numer of series : The Odd Couple , Anna and the king , The Brady Bunch , The Sandy Duncan Show , Club Oasis , The Don Knotts Special , Ed Wynn show , Dean Martin Show , The Frank Sinatra Show and occasionally for cinema , such as : Marriage on the Rocks , Watch the Birdie , The Yellow Cab Man , Close-Up , Lucky me and this Assault on a Queen (1966) . Rating : 5/10 , mediocre but passable thanks to the thrilling and spectacular final . Only for Frank Sinatra fans and heist/adventure genre enthusiasts.
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Assault on our intelligence!
mark.waltz18 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Who in their right mind would think that taking a sunken German submarine and raising it to rob the luxury liner, The Queen Mary, would be a good idea for a caper? That's the whole idea of this extremely silly thriller that in the 1940's would have been a great Universal movie starring the likes of Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu, Lon Chaney Jr. and Turhan Bey. It's all about as realistic as "Cobra Woman", yet the characters in this movie match each of the archetypes the actors I mention would play. In the case of this movie, it is Frank Sinatra, Virni Lisi, Anthony Franciosa and Richard Conte (to name a few), and I was more than surprised that none of them broke into gails of laughter when they had to recite lines in this silly screenplay. Poor Errol John as the only black man involved in the plot becomes the victim of some rather tasteless racial slurs, while Alf Kjellin displays obvious Nazi qualities as he strokes the quickly drying Nazi flag they find aboard the submarine. While the Queen Mary doesn't end up similar fates to the Titanic or the Luisitania, disaster of another kind results.
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A real Adventure film!
RodrigAndrisan13 May 2018
Frank Sinatra is cool and very natural (he also produced the film). Virna Lisi is also cool and of rare beauty. Richard Conte is cool. Same Alf Kjellin, known from all the famous TV series. Anthony Franciosa is not cool, but so does the role. Good music by Duke Ellington. Great cinematography by William H. Daniels. Very original story! So many attributes make viewing imperative.
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Sinatra sea caper springs a leak
bobvend3 December 2015
Were they really serious when they tried to make a watchable, entertaining heist caper that otherwise resulted in Assault On A Queen? I couldn't help but wonder the deeper back story to this production.

This has the look and feel of what might have been intended to be a reuniting of the famous Rat Pack clan that Dino, Sammy and Joey wisely decided to pass on (we know Peter Lawford wouldn't have been asked with The Chairman at the helm). If that was indeed the case, Frank had to muddle on with a cast of substitutes, all playing below their game to live down to his expectations.

The climax scenes are so laughably inept, with terribly executed effects...and dialog, that period audiences must have squirmed in their seats. There are far better fish in this sea to catch. Throw Assault On A Queen back.
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writers_reign13 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
As a lifelong Sinatra fan I long ago learned to distinguish between fan as in admirer and fan as in fanatic and there are plenty of the latter who would find something praise-worthy in this pedestrian heist movie which definitely belongs in the same category as Four For Texas, The Kissing Bandit, Double Dynamite etc. The premise is simple not to say simple minded. Sinatra and Errol John are partners in a boat they charter by the day, much like Jack Lemmon and Robert Mitchum in Fire Down Below. Short of cash they agree to dive in search of sunken treasure on behalf of Tony Franciosa and Virna Lisi. Whilst diving Sinatra stumbles on a U-boat on the ocean floor and unbelievable as it sounds the group decide to raise it to the surface, refurbish it and rob the Queen Mary. It ends in tears. Nuff said.
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A truly enjoyable adventure !
mike58200411 January 2005
This is a remarkable enjoyable adventure. I first saw this movie when I was a small boy of 8 years old. I have seen it several times since and I am still amazed by how much I like this movie. To an 8 year old this is a tale of adventure , risk , reward , and right over wrong. The musical soundtrack while limited is truly inspired by the plot. If you release yourself from the everyday roll of life and just let that little child in you come out with an awe of the impossible you will totally be absorbed by the picture. The acting is OK , the cloths dated , the bravado overacted but no matter how many things about this movie are just plain bad - the overall premise is inspiring . I am finding it hard to not give away any plot but I would not want to spoil this experience for anyone. Give it a try - you will not be disappointed.
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The entire concept of this is genius, and, completely unexpected.
gilligan196528 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
With the help of a German submarine Captain, and, a mixed bag of others...Frank Sinatra attempts to recover an old, sunken World War II German submarine and use it to rob a cruise liner!?!?

This is so absolutely's genius! Most everything about this plan is preposterous...but, that's why this movie works so well!

With a cast starring the talented and brilliant Frank Sinatra; the elusive and dangerous Richard Conte; the mysterious and knowledgeable Alf Kjellin; and, the beautiful and alluring Virna will this pan out!?!?

With a "PERFECT" screenplay written by the multi-talented Rod Serling ("The Twilight Zone;" "Seven Days In May;" "The Planet of the Apes;" "The Night Gallery;" etc.), anything can happen in this wonderful epic adventure!

I give this movie NINE STARS! :)
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When is a Lootenant not a Leftenant?
loza-120 September 2005
Although some of the underwater scenes in this film were pretty good, I am afraid I found the film a frightful bore. The only thing that raised me from my torpor was a glaring error.

Anthony Franciosa is supposed to be impersonating a British naval officer. He is told to pronounce lieutenant "leftenant" the British way and not "lootenant" the American way. But Anthony Franciosa let's a "lootenant" slip out, and nearly ruins the whole operation, getting away with it by claiming a Canadian connection. Only one problem: in the Royal Navy it is correct to leave the f sound out, so, by saying "lootenant", Anthony Franciosa was doing nothing wrong. This is just careless by Rod Serling the scriptwriter, and, as another commenter said, Rod Serling should have stuck to The Twilight Zone. And I'm not impressed with Mr Franciosa's research for his part either.
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A harmless trifle
JasparLamarCrabb28 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A harmless trifle directed by Jack Donohue. Frank Sinatra is oddly cast as a scuba diver(!) for hire who teams up with a band of criminals to hijack and rob the Queen Mary. Sinatra has great chemistry with leading lady Virna Lisi and there's some glossy cinematography by William H. Daniels. Duke Ellington provides the jazzy music score. All of this is really for naught since most of the film is spent on the planning of the heist and therefore fairly dull. The rag tag supporting cast includes Alf Kjellin, Richard Conte and Anthony Franciosa as the group's resident hothead. The script is by Rod Serling (from a story by Jack Finney) so one would expect a whole lot more than what one gets.
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Assault on your Senses
PostHocErgo13 March 2017
Assault on a Queen offers an intriguing, albeit far-fetched, caper on the high seas. To say "far-fetched" is a bit of an understatement really. Clearly all of the scenes underwater were shot in a pool (you can clearly see the sides of the pool). In addition, the scenes towards the end of the film are almost laughable. Still, since this film was not filmed with our modern technology, its understandable that some of these features are not up to snuff. However, there are far too many holes in the plot to make up for the lack of sophisticated filming. From the timetables used by the crew to the strategies to the final scene everything is just too hard to believe. The acting does not enhance the film either, making each character a bit predictable and wooden.

Pros: Incredibly interesting narrative idea. Cons: Tired acting, unbelievable plot and low quality stunts. 5/10.
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Lots of suspense and Sinatra charm
Tex-Mex28 February 1999
This movie is the perfect entertainment for everyone who likes either ships, U-Boats and/or Frank Sinatra... Although the main story is nothing but a fantasy plot, the movie works out pretty well. Mainly because of Franky's outstanding performance and some interesting dialogue. Don't miss the 'crushing' climax...
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One of Frank's wonderful but almost forgotten movies
billw1234531 May 2009
I rated this movie as a 10, not so much because it was one of his best, but it's surely much better than some of his other much less popular movies that have transferred to DVD.

I am dumbfounded why this hasn't been re-released on DVD. Admittedly, its a little dated, lacking in many of the photographic tricks available in that time, but it is a good story, has a relatively good cast, and also has a fine score by Duke Ellington.

Over the years, I've written may times to the Sinatra family, and what I believe to be the copyright holders, but I've never received a reply (not that I expected to anyway). My fear that many popular films with A-List stars like this one, will be lost to obscurity.

In my opinion (for what its worth), there is a lot of dud movies being released on DVD these days, and it makes no sense why some of these lost gems are being bypassed.
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Apart the weird premise this movie is highly enjoyable!!!
elo-equipamentos22 June 2020
Do you know those pictures which the premise is too much weird, surreal and inconceivable? Well this one fits exactly on this concept, although if for one hand it seems unreal for another hand is highly artsy and fulsomely delightful, bring the sunk and rusty German Submarine of the WW II and restored it in one month or so, certainly is a brazen miracle, further with a small team including a fragile woman, Sinatra plays a discharged Navy low Officer Mark Brittain always escorted by his black English friend Langley (Errol John), Anthony Franciosa plays a Vic Rossiter a greed man, Alf Kjellin plays a former German Navy Officer who planned the assault of a Queen Mary, Richard Conte plays Tony Moreno a skilled mechanic of naval engines and finally the Italian eye candy Virna Lisi plays Rosa Luchesi who sponsor of all operation, a charming production, lavish sets, well-conceived plot and has the charismatic Frank Sinatra, more he doesn't sing on movie!!!


First watch: 2000 / How many: 3 / Source: Cable TV-DVD / Rating: 7
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I like it when I was a kid, but...
bandini222 May 2006
Well I saw this movie shortly after is was made, when I was in junior high school and loved it. I will not attempt to review the plot here since there has just been too many decades that have intervened since. I will say however, that I remember that several of my friends also saw it and we even used this movie as some kind of class project in seventh grade English class where we had to outline and develop a screenplay. Even so, we were just kids and easily impressed. I have never seen the film since, even on the late movie, but it would be interesting to see if it survived the ultimate test...the test of time. It is true that Francis Albert Sinatra, much like is often said of John Wayne, usually just played himself.
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This could have been so much better
martinxperry-1486824 September 2019
What a great cast for a Rod Serling penned film. "Assault on a Queen", just falls rather flat with things a tick off all the way through. The musical score is probably one of this films' shortfalls . The musical score just does not seem synched all that well, and that can make an ok film better, but; here it just fails. In the end, the director will have to take the hit here. "Assault on a Queen" had so much promise and potential with so much veteran talent in the cast, and I guess that made this even more disappointing. Even the ending just seems to fall flat on is's face. I walk away from this film feeling really let down. "Assault on a Queen" is worth watching, once.
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