A cold hearted American hit man goes to Europe for 'one last score'. His encounter with a beautiful young woman casts self doubt on his lifeblood, and influences him to resist carrying out the contract
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Harry H. Corbett,
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Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.
Former secret agent Robert Elliot (Coburn) will be promoted to government advisor. In order to make sure no-one will ever know about his dirty past, he has invented a very ingenious plan to get rid of his four helpers: he gets them all to unknowingly kill each other in the course of a single night.Written by
Homme A. Piest <email@example.com>
Ingenious British-made corporate thriller with an impressive cast well-versed in this sort of thing – James Coburn, Keenan Wynn, Ian Hendry, Michael Jayston and Harry Andrews; Lee Grant provides both a feminist viewpoint and a romantic partner for Coburn. The plot involves Coburn’s rise in the political stakes, abetted by ruthless bigwig Wynn; however, he needs to put his shady past behind him and, to this end, organizes an intricate scheme by which his four former associates will eliminate one another on the same night!
Those expecting action, comedy, sex and colorful scenery a' la Coburn’s “Flint” pictures will be sorely disappointed by this low-key, intelligent but humorless character-driven piece – filmed against drab European settings (albeit by the great Geoffrey Unsworth); composer Roy Budd, another genre fixture, delivers an appropriately moody score. Still, the murder sequences themselves (with Coburn bemusedly ticking away each carefully-timed step of his plan) – particularly Andrews’ vicious shower murder of the Christiane Kruger character and the hesitation at carrying out his part of the bargain by the typically angst-ridden Hendry – generate the requisite amount of suspense during the film’s second half.
While Grant’s reporter character seems an intrusion at first, her presence (or, rather, Coburn’s callous mistreatment of her) eventually threatens to jeopardize his ‘mission’ – on finally getting wise to his machinations, she’s willing to suppress her affections and expose him for what he is! The film, however, provides a delicious twist ending, which sees the over-confident Coburn getting his come-uppance – even if the audience is clearly rooting for him – at his moment of glory (by the person he least expected it from)!
Regrettably, this is only available via a reportedly substandard pan-and-scan R2 DVD; then again, I did watch it in this aspect ratio myself – and dubbed in Italian to boot!
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