Friday, June 14, 2024

Film Master Series: The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)

 Film Masters is a company releasing forgotten pieces of cinema in newly restored versions 

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The Swiss Conspiracy

Cast: David Jensen, John Saxxon, Senta Berger

Writers: Norman Klenman, Howard Merrill, Phillip Saltzman

Director: Jack Arnold

** out of Five Stars

In an opening txt and narration; we learn that Swiss banks are fully protected.  The only people who have access are the account holders.  No one not even the police can seize records.  This is why many criminals decides to hold all their dirty money there.  In The Swiss Conspiracy, someone is blackmailing a bank a large sum of money to expose 5 individuals whom they will kill if their demands are not met.  Not wanting to create a scandal, the bank hires David Christopher(David Jensen) to seek out who is behind this charade.

Released in 1976 in the UK and later in America in 1977.  This espionage thriller wasn’t all that exciting as I thought it would be.  We meet a few of the criminals (John Saxon, Elke Sommer, Senta Berger) but we really don’t know much about their activities.  The movie sets it up that they are holding funds in Swiss banks to avoid any detection from authorities but I really never learned anything about them.  I got that the character played by John Saxon was really protective of his cash but I never fully understood why when watching.

Directed by Jack Arnold who also made the iconic horror features, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man. The Swiss Conspiracy feels like it should have been an movie directed by Sidney Lumet(Dog Day Afternoon) or William Friedkin( The French Connection).  Arnold does a good job with his cast but none of the characters are memorable.  This may be due to it’s script, which includes contributions from Phillip Saltzman( writer of episodes including The Untouchables and Perry Mason)  The dialogue is only there to move the plot forward.  No one has any particular traits or quirks to make them stand out.  The action is only ok at best, and for a movie like this to work.  I want to see some real tension which I did not see here.

I see this get compared to an Agatha Christie novel.  The Blu-Ray does come with a great selection of special features including a great essay by Lee Pfeiffer.  I never got that because I never saw any of the characters have any type of persona for me to be interested in.

The Blu-Ray is available for purchase and contains some great special features

Commentary by 

Author/Podcaster Daniel Budnik and Film Historian Rob Kelly

A Documentary about the director, called Jack Arnold: The Late Years

A Virtual Essay Jack Arnold: A Three Dimensional Filmmaker

Restored and orignal 35 mm Trailers

& more

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