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The Swiss Conspiracy
Per Saldo Mord

USA / West Germany 1976
produced by
Maurice Silverstein, Raymond R. Homer (executive) for Durham Productions, Bavaria
directed by Jack Arnold
starring David Janssen, Senta Berger, John Ireland, John Saxon, Ray Milland, Elke Sommer, Anton Diffring, Arthur Brauss, Inigo Gallo, Curt Lowens, David Hess, Hansjörg Bahl, Sheila Ruskin, Irmgard Först, Wilhelm von Homburg
story by Norman Klenman, Horward Merrill, Norman Sedawie, screenplay by Norman Klenman, Philip Saltzman, Michael Stanley, music by Klaus Doldinger

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Several clients of a certain Swiss bank are blackmailed, and since the bank secret is a key pillar of Swiss economy, CEO of the bank Hurtil (Ray Milland) hires a former US Justice Department official, David Christopher (David Janssen) to investigate. Absurdly enough, Christopher is soon attacked by one of those blackmailed, Hayes (John Saxon), as he has arrested him in his former job, but can ward off the attack - to later find the dead body of Hayes in his car. He's luckier with another blackmail victim, Denise (Senta Berger), who's quick to fall for his manly charms, and the two become romantically involved. Soon enough, Christopher zooms in on Hurtil's vice-CEO Benninger (Anton Diffring) and his lover Rita (Elke Sommer), but that clue leads to naught when Benninger's shot at and almost killed. But Christopher has a few more leads to follow, and local police Captain Frey (Inigo Gallo) gives him more or less a carte blanche despite all the bodies piling up in his path, not only because he realizes Christopher's street smart but also because he wants to avoid a bank scandal at all cost. Things get to a head though when the bank itself is blackmailed as well, and it's demanded that all the blackmail victims - besides Denise there's also McGowan (John Ireland) and Kosta (Curt Lowens) - are present at the handover of no less than $15 million in uncut diamonds. And Christopher has very little wriggle room to catch the baddies red-handed ...

 

Now director Jack Arnold is of course first and foremostly known for his horror and science fiction films of the 1950s, and to a somewhat lesser extent to his westerns, but this one, a very straightforward 1970s style thriller, is actually a very solid piece of genre cinema. Sure, Arnold might be no Alfred Hitchcock, but there's nevertheless plenty of action and suspense in this one, a story with many unexpected twists and turns as well as some wittily written and delivered dialogue, perfect use is made of the Swiss locations, and the name cast doesn't only look good on paper but also delivers. Plus, the jazzy score by Klaus Doldinger is almost worth the watch by itself alone. Somewhat of a hidden gem, but definitely recommended.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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special appearances by
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directed by
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written by
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