The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)
Fifties favorite of the sci-fi genre, Jack Arnold directs an above par cast for this so-so effort with some nice scenery thrown into the background of ….. you guessed it, the Swiss Alps.
Ray Milland runs a Swiss bank where people can hide away money no one knows about. People like mobster John Saxon. Beautiful women like Senta Berger among others. When Milland’s secretive clients are being blackmailed he calls in a Mr. Fix-It of sorts in the form of David Janssen. Janssen is a former U.S. treasury agent and is instantly at odds with mobster Saxon. Saxon is worried Janssen will blow the whistle on his hidden cash to the boys back in Chicago. He’d feel a whole lot better if Janssen had an unfortunate accident.
And so we have out first physical skirmish between the two actors leading to a bit of gun play.
Janssen goes about following the trail of those being blackmailed such as Miss Berger. David does of course take a keen interest in Senta’s numerical bank figures as well as the figures best describing Berger’s dress size. As the two fence around an obvious attraction, Janssen has been set up by the unknown criminals to take the fall in a murder. It seems that a body has turned up in the trunk of his rental car.
Luckily the police are not buying it and give David a bit of rope.
Perhaps the key suspects should be Milland’s co-director at the bank Anton Diffring and his mistress Elke Sommer. Then again, could they be just a red herring?
Next up is meeting an old friend from the past. It’s Canada’s own John Ireland as a retired official that seems to be more worried about his pension and where the next dollar comes from then anything else.
So in essence Janssen’s got his hands full as he goes about playing Sam Spade on behalf of Milland’s banking operation.
Strictly a “B” film here with less then stellar stars at this point of their careers. Not as action packed as one might expect, this script just seems to be crying out that it was a Charles Bronson – Jill Ireland reject. So Michael Winner’s out and Jack Arnold’s in. Looking over Jack’s directorial credits, this would appear to be his final theatrical film before wrapping up his career in television. This conspiracy effort will be far down the list of his titles when going over his contributions which includes the solid trifecta of The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Incredible Shrinking Man and It Came From Outer Space.
What The Swiss Conspiracy does offer are actors that I generally enjoy catching. Janssen was big on TV so I fondly recall his role as Richard Kimble in Fugitive re-runs. John Saxon appeared in so many films that it’s impossible not to recognize him. Not sure if I’d say a cult has developed around him but his appearance in Enter The Dragon solidifies his immortality.
The late Anton Diffring had connections to Hammer Films so he’s of interest while Milland’s career recalls the glory days of Hollywood. John Ireland was a western regular and even appeared in Spartacus so easily one of the earliest actors I became aware of that was from my home country.
Then we have our leading ladies, Miss Berger and Miss Sommer. Berger appeared in Major Dundee so I’ve always been aware of her and Elke was the bombshell Maria Gambrelli who left Inspector Clouseau love struck in A Shot in the Dark.
Swiss Conspiracy is a fairly easy flick to find if you feel the need to check out Arnold’s work or any of the well known people within.
One could do worse I should add.