By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on August 19, 2023)
The Assassination Bureau (Arrow Video)
This comedy-adventure from eclectic British director Basil Deardon (Sapphire, The League of Gentlemen, Victim, All Night Long) isn’t for all tastes; it’s one of those 1960s psychedelic trains wrecks with a huge international cast and an elusive central theme that is nonetheless compelling…if only for its sheer commitment to weirdness.
Adapted by Michael Relph from an unfinished Jack London novel, the story is set in 1908. Diana Rigg (fresh off her 2-season tenure with The Avengers) plays a feminist journalist who is assigned by her editor (Telly Savalas) to investigate a secret organization led by Oliver Reed that specializes in assassinating oligarchs (not willy-nilly, they do have a moral code…of sorts).
Granted, it’s draggy in spots, but there are some imaginative set pieces; particularly a battle royal that takes place aboard a zeppelin. The mashup of 007 and steampunk recalls the 60s TV series The Wild Wild West. Nicely shot by Geoffrey Unsworth. Also featuring Curd Jürgens, Phillipe Noiret, and Beryl Reid. A vivid 1080p transfer makes the Technicolor pop quite nicely, and Arrow heaps on a generous helping of extras.