Assault on a Queen (1966)
” They stick up the Queen Mary in mid Atlantic”
Director: Jack Donohue
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa
Synopsis: A group of adventurers refloat a WWII German submarine and prepare to use it to pull a very large heist; The Queen Mary which they plan to rob on the high seas.
The gorgeous Italian bombshell Virna Lisi is the only reason I managed to stick with this tedious ‘thriller’ about an attempt to rob the Queen Mary in mid-ocean. It’s a fair idea for a plot, and everyone likes a heist movie, but the only major crime in this film is committed by the scriptwriter for subjecting us to a story that lacks both flair and suspense. These kind of movies are supposed to be big and bold, to have the viewer ‘rooting’ for the bad guys as they attempt to pull off the kind of stunt we’d all like to pull but for which none of us has the nerve. This one just bores us with the interminable set-up and the constant bickering amongst the male leads. It picks up a little when the heist finally gets underway, but only for a few minutes, and quickly sinks back into its pedestrian quagmire. When this movie was made Sinatra was on autopilot as far as his movie career was concerned; it’s clear that he thinks he can get away with simply being himself, but the waist was beginning to get a little fat – and the aura wearing a little thin – by 1966, and he just looks like a middle-aged man playing a role that is at least 10 years too young for him. Because of this it is left to Tony Franciosa – he of the quick grin and smooth patter – to carry much of the film; he tries gamely, and does make a positive impact as an enjoyably slick and sleazy character, but it isn’t really enough. The film’s only real recommendation is the presence of the wonderful Virna Lisi, who only has to breath a little heavily to enliven any movie in which she appears.
(Reviewed 1st March 2003)