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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ASSAULT ON A QUEEN (1966)

Lousy. One of those hip, if basically mediocre caper pics that Frank Sinatra & the Rat Pack liked to make. Except this time, no Rat Pack. They must have seen the script. Frankie’s a down-on-his-luck deep-sea diver who finds a Nazi U-Boat while searching for sunken treasure with slick operator Tony Franciosa & va-va-voom investor Virna Lisi. No gold doubloons in the hatch, but an idea is born. Why not clean her up and use the old sub to rob the Queen Mary while she's out at sea? Say wha'? There’s a little bit of fun toward the end as the mismatched scale between the small sub and the mighty cruise ship make for eye-popping visuals, and a Coast Guard chase peps up in the last reel. But mostly, we teeter between the ludicrous & the desultory. Perhaps because of his tv background, megger Jack Donohue let’s his cast overplay loudly, only Richard Conte shows a bit of nuance as a wised-up engineer. And Sinatra? At 51, and looking every day of it, he seems largely disinterested, barely going thru the motions to keep the brand alive. Except for his hair which is carefully combed forward, like Caesar, the man not the Las Vegas Club.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: ‘Duke’ Ellington turned in a pleasing, lightly swinging score. It doesn’t do much for the movie, but probably made a lovely soundtrack album.

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