Smart period black-comedy thriller set in the Victorian era about a secret international club that eliminates those they deem unworthy. The scene is set for a cat-and-mouse chase across Europe. Post-Avengers Diana Rigg stars as the prim and proper aspiring reporter whilst Oliver Reed wonderfully portrays the bureau’s insidiously witty and debonair leader. Loosely based on a madcap unfinished novel by Jack London later completed by Robert L Fish, with additional material by producer Michael Relph and Wolf Mankowitz, the mildly funny game of cat-and-mouse across Europe is performed by an excellent cast with tongue firmly in cheek. Director Basil Dearden infuses the silly tale with lively glee and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth’s photography perfectly captures the period scenery.
Tenacious feminist journalist Miss Winter sets out to track down a society of hired killers dubbed The Assassination Bureau operating at the beginning of the 20th century. However, she’s taken aback by the smooth sophistication of the organisation’s leader Ivan Dragomiloff. She comes up with a singularly appropriate challenge for the bureau – to assassinate him. Dragomiloff, in an attempt to rejuvenate the group, challenges his assassins to target him, while he in turn will attempt to assassinate them. But events are complicated by a conniving aristocratic newspaper publisher Lord Bostwick. —Britmovie.co.uk
Basil Dearden (born Basil Clive Dear; 1 January 1911 – 23 March 1971) was an English film director.
Dearden was born at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He graduated from theatre direction to film, working as an assistant to Basil Dean. He later changed his own name to Dearden to avoid confusion with his mentor.
He first began working as a director at Ealing Studios, co-directing comedy films with Will Hay, including The Goose Steps Out (1942) and My Learned Friend (1943). He worked on the influential chiller compendium Dead of Night (1945) and directed the linking narrative and the “Hearse Driver” segment. He also directed The Captive Heart starring Michael Redgrave, a 1946 British war drama, produced by Ealing Studios. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. The Blue Lamp (1950), probably the most frequently shown of Dearden’s Ealing films, is a police drama which first introduced audiences to PC George Dixon, later resurrected for the long-running Dixon of… read more
This movie is not a bomb, it's a movie about bombs and bombers. And it should pique your curiosity because The Assassination Bureau offers adventure moments (bombs and chases in London, Paris, Venice and Vienna), action scenes (zeppelin versus castle), comedy parts (disguises and inventive assassinations) and, at least, eroticism (Diana Rigg with Victorian underwears and the visit of a brothel in Paris). A very good surprise. Recommended.