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|Directed by||Ralph Thomas|
|Produced by||Betty Box (producer)|
Earl St. John (executive producer)
|Written by||Victor Canning|
|Based on||Venetian Bird |
by Victor Canning
|Music by||Nino Rota|
|Edited by||Gerald Thomas|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors (1952, UK, theatrical)|
United Artists (1953, US, theatrical)
|95 minutes; US:90 minutes|
Venetian Bird is a 1952 British thriller film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Richard Todd, Eva Bartok and John Gregson. Adapted by Victor Canning from his own 1950 novel of the same title, in its US release, it was titled The Assassin.
British private detective Edward Mercer (Richard Todd) is employed to travel to Venice and locate an Italian who is to be rewarded for his assistance to Allied airmen during the Second World War. Once he arrives in Italy, however, he becomes mixed up in an assassination and a great deal of mystery. The mystery revolves around whether Renzo Uccello (John Gregson) actually died a few years earlier in World War II or not.
- Richard Todd as Edward Mercer
- Eva Bartok as Adriana Medova
- John Gregson as Renzo Uccello
- George Coulouris as Chief of Police Spadoni
- Margot Grahame as Rosa Melitus
- David Hurst as Minelli
- Walter Rilla as Count Boria
- John Bailey as Lieutenant Longo
- Sid James as Bernardo
- Sydney Tafler as Boldesca
- Miles Malleson as Grespi
- Eric Pohlmann as Gostini
Michael Balcon originally rejected the idea of a film based on Canning's novel because it was set in Italy and dealt with Italians, not Britons. Betty Box appealed to Earl St John who over-ruled Balcon. Italian censors did require the script clear up the portrayal of political struggles in post-war Venice that were in the novel.
The film was shot entirely on location in Venice. Box and Thomas decided not to use colour as they felt it would not suit the genre.
- BFI Collections: Michael Balcon Papers H3 reprinted in British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference by Sue Harper, Vincent Porter p 41
- IMDb Plot Summary: The Assassin
- British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference by Sue Harper, Vincent Porter Oxford University Press, 2003 p 38
- HOWARD THOMPSON (14 September 1952). "BY WAY OF REPORT: Box -- Thomas Activities -- Cinema 16 Plans --". New York Times. p. X5.
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