Assassination in Rome


Director: Silvio Amadio
Year: 1965
Rating: 6.0
Country: Euro

This Euro-Suspense film has a slight Hitchcock vibe but it isn't Hitchcock running the show but instead Silvio Amadio, which is a shame because there is potential here within the plot. As in so many of these Euro-genre films they brought over two well-known names from America - Hugh O'Brian of Wyatt Earp TV fame and Cyd Charisse with the long fabulous legs who danced with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly back in the 1950's in such classics as Brigadoon, The Band Wagon and Silk Stockings. One of the problems with the versions we often get to see of these films is that the Italians are all dubbed (usually badly) into English and even the Americans are dubbed later on - sometimes by themselves, sometimes by others. This sounds like O'Brian's deep masculine voice as best as I can recollect but not sure about Charisse - if it is her it is a pretty bland reading.

The DVD transfer is lovely - crisp and clean with bright colors - which adds to the terrific location shooting in Rome (including a trip to the famous Italian film studio Cinecitta) and Venice. Like a dummy I was thinking they must have spent a lot of money to shoot so extensively in Italy and then I thought - duh - this is an Italian film - they always shoot in Italy! But the charms of both cities are given a lot of exposure.

Hugh O'Brian plays Dick Sherman, an American ex-pat journalist in Rome. It comes to his attention that the husband of an old love visiting Rome has gone missing. He offers to help her search for him. At the same time a murdered body is found sitting peacefully at the Fountain of Trevi with a packet of heroin in his pocket. The two cases are of course connected but how. The plot unfolds perhaps a bit too leisurely with Sherman following a bunch of leads that lead nowhere other than a conk on the head from time to time. Yet the ending feels very rushed as if the director gathered the crew and said we have to finish today - a lot of stuff goes unexplained (like why does Charisse start calling Dick Sherman, Dominick halfway through the film) but n the scheme of things how important is that really?