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The Assassination Bureau
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Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg head an impeccable cast in The Assassination Bureau, a spirited caper inspired by a book co-written by Jack London. Reed plays Ivan, the self-confident chief of an association of hitmen for hire, who will refuse no well-paid offer - especially the lucrative challenge of an aspiring reporter (Rigg). Reasoning that a running cat-and-mouse duel with his henchmen will rid the organization of incompetents, Ivan agrees to become the object of a nonstop hunt. The game is afoot... and Europe is the playground!
- MPAA rating : s_medPG PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.5 Ounces
- Director : Basil Dearden
- Media Format : NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 49 minutes
- Release date : November 4, 2019
- Actors : Oliver Reed, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Philippe Noiret
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Paramount Pictures
- ASIN : B07ZWBPM17
- Writers : Michael Relph
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#33,605 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #4,121 in Action & Adventure DVDs
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Top reviews from the United States
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*it is NOT a family oriented film. There's nothing too bad by today's standards but you probably want to watch it first before letting your kids watch it.
The film stars a very handsome Oliver Reed and the exceptionally beautiful Diana Rigg as Ivan Dragomiloff and Miss Winter, respectively. The story, set in what seems to be early 20th century, begins with Miss Winter desires to gain employment within a newspaper, one own by Lord Bostwick, played by Telly Savalas (Who loves ya, baby?). Her method for getting her foot in the door comes in the form of information she's uncovered about a mysterious international organization of hitmen, secretly called The Assassination Bureau, Limited, that takes commissions to execute people for money. Bostwick agrees to hire her, and in order to get a better handle on the story, she makes contact with the group, with the purpose to commission them to do a killing for her. She meets Ivan, and requests that he be the target. Ivan, who inherited his position and the company from his father, is of the idealistic sort, and sees this as a real opportunity to not only test his organization, but to strengthen the idealistic principles which his father brought forth when he started the bureau, as Ivan feels the current bureau has become to focused on the monetary gains from their lucrative business. He accepts Miss Winter's commission, and presents it to the board, and soon the challenge begins. Ivan must survive against some of the world's most deadly killers, taking them out before they do him in...with Miss Winters in tow, as she follows the story for her newspaper. Will the bureau be successful? Or will Ivan manage to elude his own murder, one which he accepted a commission for himself? I'm not going to tell, but I will say it's worth watching to find out. There's actually a lot more within the plot that I didn't detail, as I didn't want to give too much away for those who haven't seen the film.
As I said, the movie is a lot of fun and very enjoyable. Reed is especially charming and witty, and the chemistry between him and Diana Rigg's character comes through in nearly every scene they appear. Both actors bring a natural sophistication to their characters that just a real treat to watch. The film has the overall feel of a really well done comedy thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep the viewer on his/her feet. The supporting cast did an excellent job, and there seemed to be a strong effort to choose suitable actors to fill out the international cast of characters. While the story was complex, yet easy to follow, some of the relationships between the characters seemed a little light, but this was such a minor nitpick to me, given the films strengths. Also, great attention was given to the look and feel of the scenes and the wardrobe, and also the scenes shot on location, as to convey a sense of the time period during which the film takes place. Speaking of place, the film travels from England throughout Europe, visiting countries like Switzerland, Germany, Italy, to name a few, providing a wonderful, lush, adventurous backdrop to an interesting story. One of the things I really liked about the movie that the story sticks to its' plot, offering little in the way of diversions that only cause the viewer to be removed from the film. The pacing may slow a bit at some points, but it does move along at a comfortable, even pace. While some elements may be predictable, I found overall that the story appeared to original and engaging. The special effects in the film will appear extremely obvious, but given when the film was made, this was about the level one could expect. I would say just go along with it, and appreciate the movie as a whole, and forgo focusing too much on these elements. Also, when is the last time you saw a zeppelin in a movie? Okay, maybe that not so entertaining James Bond flick A View to a Kill (1985), but this film is much better.
The wide screen print provided on this DVD looks exceptional, providing a clear and crisp image that really shows of the vibrant and beautiful colors throughout the film, especially highlighting the finer details of the costuming (I don't usually notice the costuming within a film, unless it's really off base or the film is a presenting a certain period in time. This particular period just happened to include colorful, elaborate, and intricate costumes, which were, at least in my opinion, really well done). There is a noticeable absence of special features, even lacking the customary theatrical trailer, but there are English subtitles available, which I found handy at times as the accents within the film sometimes were a bit thick and not easily understood. I would have enjoyed a little more in the way of special features, but I really can't complain, as the film looks excellent.
I thoroughly recommend it to anyone! I have loved it for years and my tape of it was wearing out, so it is good to see it finally on DVD!!! This movie never fails to delight and amuse!!!
Top reviews from other countries
The casting is generally excellent, with some pretty well-known names hamming up the National Stereotypes, whether it's Curd Juergens as the Prussian Officer, Pickelhaube and heel-clicks all present and correct; Vernon Dobtcheff as the permanently morose Russian or John Lloyd in full British Cavalry rig. The only slightly off casting is Telly Savalas who is somewhat unconvincing as a Lord, even if he gets the Villain part spot on. Watch out for some great cameos from Warren Mitchell, the original Master Roger Delgado and Beryl Reid amongst others. But Diana Rigg steals the show.
As others have pointed out, the DVD is actually a Spanish edition, but the primary Soundtrack is the original English one, and the menus, although in Spanish are basic enough - effectively Play Movie, Scene Selection and Options on the main menu, Options being Soundtrack in English or Catalan, the same for the Subtitles and that's about it - so easy to figure out. The transfer to DVD suffers a little in the modern age of High Definition both in terms of picture and sound quality but bearing in mind the age of the film is perfectly acceptable.
It's all very silly, harmless good fun and a great film for a quiet night in.