4.9/10
284
16 user 3 critic

The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)

A former U.S.Justice Department official is hired as a security consultant for a Zurich based Swiss bank when five of its clients are blackmailed.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... David Christopher
... Denise Abbott
... Dwight McGowan
... Robert Hayes
... Johann Hurtil
... Rita Jensen
... Franz Benninger
Arthur Brauss ... Korsak
Inigo Gallo ... Captain Frey
... Kosta
... Sando
Hans-Joerg Bahl ... Sgt. Schwand (as Hans-Jörg Bahl)
Sheila Ruskin ... Corinne
Irmgard Först ... Florelle
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Storyline

When a Swiss bank finds that the confidentiality of some of its more vulnerable customers has been compromised it calls in an American investigator, who soon uncovers a web of deceit and blackmail. With old debts being paid off his own health is soon in danger, but at least he starts to gets to know one of the bank's female customers pretty well. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dirty Money, Dirty Secrets... See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

September 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Conspiração Suiça  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Man In Parking Garage: The package, Herr Captain.
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Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great buy for Europhiles!
23 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

The thing that attracted me to this movie was its title. I love Europe and have long had a fascination with Switzerland both for its beauty and its fierce, unwaivering independence and neutrality. Plus, I'm into women from the German speaking countries and this movie stars two beautiful ones, Elke Sommer and Senta Berger! So for $1.99, it was an automatic buy for me! So what if I wasn't clear about the plot?! To start off, the movie gets my award for the most attention grabbing intro that I've ever seen. A waiter in a fancy restaurant wheels a cart up to a table, pulls a gun out of his pants and shoots the customer - all in the first 30 seconds.

We later find out that the man killed in that scene was crooked arms deealer Georg Rasher of Vienna (the actor who plays him is uncredited) - one of five holders of secret accounts at a Swiss bank who recently received a blackmail notice that threatens to expose the account unless 1,000,000 Swiss francs are paid. In addition, the bank is told to pay 10,000,000 francs to keep the accounts secret. The total of 15,000,000 francs demanded is said to be the equivalent of about $6,000,000.

To investigate, the bank hires David Christopher (played by David Janssen), a former U.S. Department of Justice official who now resides in Geneva. In the course of his investigation, Christopher talks to the four living blackmailees - lovely Zürich resident Denise Abbott (Berger), who becomes his obligatory love interest, Texas businessman Dwight McGowan (John Ireland), Chicago crook Robert Hayes (John Saxon) and Dutchman Andre Kosta (Curt Lowens). It turns out that Christopher and Hayes already have a negative history with each other, which isn't surprising, as volatile and obnoxious as Hayes is.

Like many good mysteries, this movie gives us several suspects to choose from including Rita Jensen (Sommer), the mistress of the bank's vice president, Franz Benninger (Anton Diffring), and two men who are out to kill Hayes and Christopher, Korsak (Arthur Brauss) and Sando (David Hess).

Two other characters who add a lot to the movie are the bank's worried president, Johann Hurtil (Ray Milland) and Captain Hans Frey (Inigo Gallo) of the Swiss Federal Police, who is suspicious of Christopher and has several sarcastic run ins with him.

Eventually, the bank decides to cave in and pay the blackmailer. But what action movie hero would go for that?! Christopher, of course, attempts to foil the plot, which leads to a dramatic climax that provides a couple of surprising twists.

Some people complain that this movie is confusing. And I understand their point. To understand it fully, you have to pay very close attention to it from start to finish. It's very cleverly written and if you miss even a minute or two, you'll probably miss something important.

The two cuts of the movie that I've seen are relatively short - 1:20:57 and 1:23:22) - but not a single second is wasted. The movie has so much intrigue from so many sources that there's no room for boredom. There's lots of suspense, the action scenes are exciting and heightened by Klaus Doldiner's progressive jazz-funk music, the scenery (I'm fairly certain that it was filmed entirely in Switzerland) is fantastic and the combination of European and American actors give it a strong international feel.

Judging the movie by itself, I consider "The Swiss Conspiracy" to be a great movie. But its technical quality leaves a significant amount to be desired. Visually, it's decent, but the sound wavers from solid to weak, sometimes in the same scene. At several points, the dialogue is so soft that it's hard to decipher - so much so that I rewound, turned up the volume very loudly and sometimes still couldn't pick out the words.

Also, I warn you that on the cheapie DVD that I have, some of the editing is embarrassingly sloppy. And the transfer apparently comes not from an original source but rather a TV company as the obscenities are silenced! There is a free version available for download at http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com. It apparently is the theatrical version of the movie or at least closer to it than the cheapie DVD version is. The movie has apparently become public domain. I don't know how it reached that status but it's very sad that it did.

In conclusion, "The Swiss Conspiracy" is a great mystery thriller that could have been something spectacular with a big budget. Still, it is my favorite obscure movie of all time. I love the movie so much that I have a web page for it at http://www.geocities.com/theswissconspiracy and an e-mail discussion list for it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theswissconspiracy.

Only the movie's technical deficiencies prevent it from getting a perfect 10. As it is, I rate it 9/10.


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