At some point as a kid I must have had encountered this film, because I remember the scene where the guy is watching the cartoon porn in the cinema and gets shot in the back of the head. I hadn't thought of that scene in decades, had no idea of the name of the film, and must have caught it on television. How I can remember this but can't remember to take a towel to a swimming pool is beyond me.
A rather middle-aged line up of stars in this one too, I notice. David Janssen is an ex-CIA agent looking for a man called John Benson, who has recorded a cassette that could bring down the whole organisation. Only we the audience know that Benson has had his throat slit shortly after the film begins (well, I guess the killer knows it too). Janssen is drawing a lot of attention and is being followed around by stony-faced agent Ivan Rassimov, who brings him before the pure malice of Arthur Kennedy. Arthur doesn't like that Janssen now makes a living publishing novels about CIA operations and wants to know what he's up to, and he's not above getting Janssen the odd kicking to put his point across.
Janssen also hooks up with his buddy Maurizio Merli, another agent operating in Athens with a secret to hide and Janssen's lovely ex Corrine Clery as a girlfriend. Merli has his own problems - he knows where Benson's cassette is and he may also know who paid for the drug dealer to be shot at the start of the film. Kennedy also wants rid of Merli and has arranged for Merli to be 'taken care of' by his successor Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (who doesn't do or say anything in this film). Philipe Leroy also drops in as a friendly Greek policeman and things start getting violent once everyone tries to track down the cassette.
I was quite taken with this one as I guess it is a throwback to the old Euro-spy films. It has quite a few twists in it and for a change Maurizio Merli has a bit more to his character than just being a punching and killing machine, although he gets to do that too. Clery nearly makes it to the end without getting naked (she doesn't make it though) and Arthur Kennedy plays the most gleefully evil villain I've seen in a long time. There's some truly cruel happens to Janssen in the film and Kennedy takes great delight in prolonging the agony. It's Kennedy and Merli that make the film, no doubt.
In summation:95% of Greece is made up of CIA agents.
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