THE VENETIAN AFFAIR (1967)
Article 2318 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-31-2007
Posting Date: 12-17-2007
Directed by Jerry Thorpe
Featuring Robert Vaughn, Elke Sommer, Felicia Farr
A down-and-out journalist who used to be with the CIA finds himself investigating the bombing of a conference in Venice. There he encounters his former CIA boss and his ex-wife, who are also embroiled in the mystery.
I remember this movie popping up on TV a few times during my youth, but on viewing the teasers, I didn’t think it looked promising, despite the fact that Boris Karloff was in the cast; perhaps the fact that he was always mentioned fourth was a further tip-off that it really wasn’t the type of movie I liked. Having watched it now, I feel that I was right; it wouldn’t have interested me much back then. For that matter, it only interests me marginally more now. I do admire it a little; despite the fact that spy movies were in no short supply during the sixties, this largely applies to James Bond movies and their various knock-offs; serious spy movies were in much shorter supply, and I like that this one aspires to be one of the latter. Still, it’s so low key that I found it dull and difficult to follow for the first half, and it didn’t exactly inspire me to pay close attention to the plot details. Things do improve during the second half, though, but not enough. Part of the problem is that for this story to work, the main character has to be complex and interesting enough for us to get caught up in his situation; unfortunately, though I do think Robert Vaughn works just fine in certain roles, I don’t think he really gives his character sufficient depth to make me interested in him. I have no problem with many of the other familiar names in the cast, such as Karloff, Elke Sommer, Roger C. Carmel or Ed Asner, all of whom hold my attention and interest me when they’re on the screen. As it is, I find this spy thriller middling at best.
Oh, and I almost forgot – the fantastic content of the movie is one of the plot secrets that isn’t really revealed until near the end of the movie, but it thrusts the movie into the realm of science fiction. Let’s just say that a scientist has created something that is of use to the villains in the story.