Clandestine Organizations, Charismatic Duos, and Lavish Escapades
The Assassination Bureau
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Year Released: 1969, 2023 Arrow Video Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director(s): Basil Dearden
Writer(s): Michael Relph (screenplay,) Jack London (unfinished novel,) Robert L. Fish (novel,) Wolf Mankowitz (additional dialogue)
Cast: Diana Rigg, Oliver Reed, Telly Savalas, Curd Jürgens, Philippe Noiret, Warren Mitchell, Clive Revill, Beryl Reid, Vernon Dobtcheff, Annabella Incontrera, Kenneth Griffith, Jess Conrad, George Coulouris, Katherine Kath, John Abineri, Jonathan Adams
Where To Watch: Releasing April 25, 2023, available for pre-order now at www.arrowvideo.com or www.mvdshop.com
RAVING REVIEW: A different type of comedy adventure set amidst the vibrant European scenery on the verge of World War I, THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU offers viewers a unique tale that pulls from many different genres of the day. The film is one part JAMES BOND, one part LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and one part Woody Allen’s CASINO ROYALE.
Set in 1908 London, the plot revolves around a fearless journalist and women's rights advocate discovering the secret Bureau. This organization has eliminated wealthy and influential individuals for moral reasons (intriguing premise.) Our brave protagonist, backed by her employer, decides to go all in and test the waters of this organization. In a bold twist, the plot thickens when the entire organization is flipped on end with a new revelation.
Taking cues from an unfinished Jack London novel published posthumously in 1963, the director-producer team of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph craft a captivating adventure film that is more than a little dated but with just the right amount of wit, elegance, and humor. I’ve always had a soft spot for technicolor. This film is no exception, especially with the lavish sets and eye-catching costumes, reflecting the filmmakers' dedication to working with the cinematography and the medium at the time to deliver a visual treat.
THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU captivates its audience with a visual trek across a picturesque Europe with traps, explosives, and disguises. Our lead manages to avoid numerous assassination attempts while striving to unmask the traitors within the organization.
In addition to the main cast, the movie features a charming ensemble of actors who breathe life into their characters with solid performances, even when they veer into stereotypes. Director Basil Dearden orchestrates a delightful escapade, filled with scenes that shouldn’t fit this film's overall style but are mixed in perfectly.
THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU stars the charismatic trio of Oliver Reed, Diana Rigg, and Telly Savalas, who each bring their distinct flair and energy to their roles. The film provides an entertaining and lighthearted experience, with the actors' enthusiasm clearly shown in their performances.
In conclusion, THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU is a fun, amusing, and still serious film with a superb cast and well-done screenplay. While it may be a bit dated regarding what it does on screen, the movie remains a riveting spectacle from start to finish, with dark humor and a touch of eccentricity that just somehow works.
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[photo courtesy of ARROW FILMS/MVD ENTERTAINMENT]