The Assassination Bureau

1969

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Crime / Thriller

17
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78% · 9 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 69% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.4/10 10 3339 3.3K

Director

Top cast

Diana Rigg as Sonya Winter
Oliver Reed as Ivan Dragomiloff
Peter Bowles as Jealous lover at 'La Belle Amie'
Philip Madoc as Officer
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1008.61 MB
1280*690
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 18
1.83 GB
1920*1036
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 30
1009.33 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 9
1.83 GB
1920*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 6 / 10

Jack London - An American Original With a "Jules Verne" Problem

Jack London was a phenomenal writer, who came up from poverty and turned out some amazing books. These include (but are not limited to) THE SEA WOLF, WHITE FANG, THE CALL OF THE WILD. London is usually brushed aside today as a "kids" author. The same idiocy that relegates Jules Verne to be a writer for children and ignores his savage comments on politics affects London. After you are encouraged (about eighth grade) to read THE CALL OF THE WILD, you are told that London is always writing about man and animals in Alaska in the Gold Rush of 1898, with an occasional look at an exciting sea story.

Actually he's sharper than that: THE CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG were his attempts to tell a story from an animals' point of view. THE SEA WOLF is his attempt to attack the prevalent socio-economic doctrine of the day (1900): Social Darwinism, as practiced by Captain Wolf Larsen. He wrote one of the first good novels about America under a dictatorship: THE IRON HEEL. He discussed his early life in MARTIN EDEN. He discussed his alcoholism in his book JOHN BARLEYCORN. He was the first American novelist of real international stature to embrace socialism! A reporter as well as writer, his experiences watching the Japanese government prevent him from carrying out his job during the Russo - Japanese War turned him into a perpetually hostile critic of Japan's goals in the Pacific (although, to be fair to the Japanese, London did show some racism here).

Keeping this in mind, one realizes that THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU, LTD. has to be tackled differently from say THE CALL OF THE WILD or the short story TO BUILD A FIRE. London is looking with jaundice eye at the political system that had ruled Europe (and most of the world) since 1815 or so. It was oppressive and uneven, and even in the United States (probably the best major power to live in in terms of opportunity and social mobility) it was still badly flawed.

Assassination had become a serious tool for trying to influence European affairs from 1881 to 1910 (when the novel was begun by London). Tsar Alexander II of Russia was blown to bits in 1881 by a Nihilist group called "The People's Will". Although it was captured and most of its members hanged, others copied it. Assassinations continued in Russia up to 1911 including Interior Grand Duke Serge in 1904,Minister Von Phleve in 1905, and Prime Minister Peter Stolypin in 1911. Elsewhere the other states suffered. Presidents Garfield and McKinley were assassinated in 1881 and 1901 (the latter by a self-proclaimed anarchist). President Sadi Carnot of France was stabbed to death in a public parade in 1894, in the middle of a series of anarchist attacks (including a bombing at the Chambre of Deputies). Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, King Umberto I of Italy, the Prime Minister of Spain, King Carlos III of Portugal, were all killed. So were Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke by Irish nationalists in Phoenix Park in 1882. Many smaller public figures were killed as well. The topic of an "assassination bureau" was timely - especially as some of these victims fit what the bureau decided: were the targets worthy of being assassinated.

Of course not all of them were (Empress Elisabeth for example). But London's vision was not totally flawed. It was just that being a realist he knew that the "pure" idea of the bureau would be corrupted sooner or later. So his plot involves the head of this international bureau being offered a huge reward if he orders his own assassination. Note that Oliver Reed's character is a Russian, as though the author knew who was most likely to be the head of an assassination group.

Probably due to other commitments London never finished the novel. Robert L. Fish, a successful mystery novelist, wrote a completion which was rather amusing. I tend to believe that was an error - London was seldom an amusing writer. The film treats the moral issue as a joke, and uses the characters as caricatures of the nations they represent (the doleful Russian, the gluttonous and sexually active Italian, the pragmatic Frenchmen who runs a bordello too, the English newspaper tycoon). These characters need good performers, and Philippe Noiret is on target as the bordello owner/assassin leader); and (although not Italian) Clive Revill is quite good as the Italian. The Russian (it's not Reed) is doleful, but hardly memorable. As for Lord Bostwick, Telly Savalas is not convincing as an English aristocrat (one can't even imagine him as a Canadian transplant to England, like Spencer Tracy in EDWARD, MY SON). Curt Jurgens' German assassination leader, General Von Pinck (the name suggested, perhaps, by his handiness with a sword) is either sadistically high-spirited or vicious: no other characteristics there.

Diana Rigg, as the budding journalist who's first job is actually as a cats-paw for Savalas (her boss) is pretty good, but her performance as Vincent Price's daughter in THEATRE OF BLOOD was livelier. She seems determined to maintain her suffragette style dignity here no matter what. However it happens to work for the film. As for Reed, his straight villains were usually far better than his heroes. He appears to be too laid back at times. A bit more jittery behavior would have been better.

One final point: One minor character, an Austrian nobleman marked for death, is killed when he cuts into a large knock-wurst (that has a bomb in it). This gag probably is not original but it was reused in the television movie MORE WILD WILD WEST with Jonathan Winters as the victim.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 8 / 10

These are the clumsiest killers ever!

This is a delight in practically every way with Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg completely winning as former adversaries who team up to prevent the assassination of all the crowned heads of Europe. The film starts on a high comic level with filmed footage of assassinations through the bureau that are absolutely hysterical and we'll keep you in stitches in spite of their macabre intentions. Rigg, opposed to the killing of human beings for whatever reason, decides to take matters into her own hands and hires read for the ultimate assassination, presenting him with a huge bag of money. The victim? Himself! Pleased with the challenge of escaping assassination, read presents this challenge to the board of directors of the assassination bureau and tells them that if they can't kill him, he will kill each and every one of them. Pretty soon, it's the coyote chasing the roadrunner, and members of the assassination bureau keep going over the cliff in the most amusing of ways. Rigg and read eventually join forces after an evening in a Parisian brothel where everything that can go wrong for those after Reed does go wrong.

Set in the early 1900s, this is a glorious and glossy view of a turning point in world history, taken to extremes and exciting from start to finish. It is funny, romantic, action-packed and absolutely thrilling. among those involved in the plot include Telly Savalas, Clive Revill and Beryl Reid, but the chemistry between Reed and Rigg is so good that you can't help rooting for them over the fun cartoon like villains. They are absolutely bumbling in every way shape or form in their attempts to killed Reed, weather locking him in a room and filling it with poison gas or putting a bomb into a sausage. You know that something funny is going to happen right before he is about to succumb that will turn the tables. Rigg gets to wear the most fabulous outfits, and in the scene in the locked room with poison gas, there are some very funny visuals concerning her character. She is also tough and very much ahead of her time, nobody to mess with. That makes this film so much fun that you will want to visit this bureau again and again.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 5 / 10

A bizarre outing

THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU is a strange and unwieldy historical comedy that could only have been made in the late '60s, coming as it does hot on the heels of the likes of OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR! It's based on a novel by Jack London which was unfinished at the time of his death. An all-star cast spearheads the remarkable and unbelievable story of an international league of assassin who go around blowing up a cast of minor cameoing British stars (Frank Thornton, Milton Reid) in the hilarious opening sequence. Diana Rigg is the intrepid reporter hot on their heels, and what follows is a farcical storyline with various bewigged stars (Curt Jurgens, Telly Savalas) chewing the scenery in an increasingly serious storyline. Oliver Reed remains a towering presence as always and the airship climax is well handled despite the paucity of the special effects work. It's not really a great or even good film, but it is an interesting one.

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