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After an American diplomat inexplicably explodes a bomb during an international peace conference in Venice, killing himself and everyone in the room, CIA boss Frank Rosenfeld calls ex-agent Bill Fenner in on the case. Fenner is forced to find his ex-wife and save her from the clutches of both the good guys and the bad guys, while still obtaining the Vaugiroud report and uncovering the bombing conspiracy. Written by
When I saw this film advertised in my satellite listings mag, it merely said, "The Venetian Affair"...'67...starring Robert Vaughn. Hmm, I thought. I believed I'd SEEN all the "U.N.C.L.E." films - "The Helicopter Spies", "To Trap A Spy", "One Of Our Spies Is Missing", etc. And anyway, the "The...Affair" titles are only for the TV episodes from which the "movies" hail.
So I began to watch it. The first thing I noticed was that it'd been made in scope. This further puzzled me, as the "U.N.C.L.E." "movies" are all in standard ratio, having been culled from TV.
Of course, I now know better. The "Affair" in the title is merely what the producers must at the time have thought was a VERY happy COINCIDENCE, "The Venetian Affair" being the original title of the source novel by Helen MacInnes.
But is it also a coincidence that they chose to star Robert Vaughn and a number of lightweight actors in the film? I suspect NOT. In those days, many people went to see a film solely on the strength of the POSTER (which is why the two "Carry On"s that for contractual reasons did not originally bear the Carry On prefix still did well) so they HAD to know that many would assume it was an "U.N.C.L.E." movie.
Which means that I'm sure many viewers of this film, both on it's original theatrical release and later (if their TV listings mag only featured the basics) were BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED with it.
It might have been better if it had turned out to be a serious and GOOD spy thriller - like "The Naked Runner" (athough those waiting for Sinatra to take off his clothes would have been disappointed too) - but it WASN'T. It was, and still is, SLOW, DREARY and BORING!
I mean, after I'd realised it wasn't an "U.N.C.L.E." romp, I was happy to judge it on its own merit - but it doesn't HAVE any!
Incidentally, I notice that various listings for this piece have it as coming out in 1957 - including THIS august service - whereas it ACTUALLY came out in the GOLDEN year of 1967. I wonder why?
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