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The Venetian Affair (1966) Online

The Venetian Affair (1966) Online
Original Title :
The Venetian Affair
Genre :
Movie / Action / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Jerry Thorpe
Cast :
Robert Vaughn,Elke Sommer,Felicia Farr
Writer :
E. Jack Neuman,Helen MacInnes
Type :
Time :
1h 29min
Rating :
The Venetian Affair (1966) Online

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.
Complete credited cast:
Robert Vaughn Robert Vaughn - Bill Fenner
Elke Sommer Elke Sommer - Sandra Fane
Felicia Farr Felicia Farr - Claire Connor
Karlheinz Böhm Karlheinz Böhm - Robert Wahl (as Karl Boehm)
Luciana Paluzzi Luciana Paluzzi - Giulia Almeranti
Boris Karloff Boris Karloff - Dr. Pierre Vaugiroud
Roger C. Carmel Roger C. Carmel - Mike Ballard
Edward Asner Edward Asner - Frank Rosenfeld
Joe De Santis Joe De Santis - Jan Aarvan
Fabrizio Mioni Fabrizio Mioni - Russo
Wesley Lau Wesley Lau - Neill Carlson
Bill Weiss Bill Weiss - Goldsmith

This movie was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name by author 'Helen Macinnes' was first published in 1963. This is the third of four screen adaptations of one of Macinnes' novels. The others are The Salzburg Connection (1972), Above Suspicion (1943) and Assignment in Brittany (1943).

Actor Robert Vaughn was cast in the lead role in this picture by MGM in order to capitalize on his popular Napoleon Solo spy TV character from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964). This movie is actor Robert Vaughn's only other 60s spy film outside of playing 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E's Napoleon Solo in the series. Since the title of every episode ended with the word 'affair', this film could easily be mistaken for being an U.N.C.L.E. adventure, or for being one of the many theatrical version which were edited together from several episodes (however, none of the U.N.C.L.E. 'movies' used the word 'Affair' in it's title, only the episodes.)

First theatrical feature film directed by Jerry Thorpe. Thorpe mostly worked in television except for this film and Day of the Evil Gun (1968) made and released a year later.

The two movies that Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi starred in straight after the James Bond film Thunderball (1965) were also both spy films, this picture and The One Eyed Soldiers (1967).

Movie writer/producer E. Jack Neuman has an uncredited role as the suicidal American diplomat at the beginning of the film.

Bond director Guy Hamilton was at one stage attached to direct.

Peter Fonda was the original choice for the lead role.

The review of the movie in the weekly Variety, January 11, 1967, gives the running length as 92 minutes.

User reviews



In 1967, when the spy genre became well and truly a parody of itself, there were only some spy films that were serious attempts in the genre. "The Venetian Affair" is one such film. It's a very well made, suspenseful and dramatic work, based on Helen MacInnes' novel of the same name. Still TV's super-spy Napoleon Solo, Robert Vaughn plays the anti-hero, antithesis of Solo/Bond/Flint etc, as former-CIA man, now downtrodden journalist Bill Fenner. He plays Fenner extremely well, a perfect role for Vaughn's sensibilities as a thoughtful, intellectual man. Aided magnificently is a strong European cast - Elke Sommer, Boris Karloff, Luciana Paluzzi and Karl Boehm to name just a few. Also prominent is Edward Asner as the tough CIA chief Rosenfeld.

Overall, this is an excellent and often misunderstood film. Most people and critics alike, expected the any spy film from this era to be more glamorous and fun a la "In Like Flint" or "You Only Live Twice" which came out the same year. However, looking in retrospect some thirty-years on, one can appreciate a fine dramatic work, one which stands up to the test of time much better than any of its more outrageous competitors.


Being in high school at the time my friends and I read all the spy novels we could get our hands on. I had read 'The Spy Who Came in From The Cold'. The book and movie were both first class. Then I read 'The Venitian Affair' and it was also top notch, a first class suspense novel with all the twists and turns, very dark. When they announced that Robert Vaunghn was going to play the lead we were ecstatic. Unfortunately, the movie, while not bad, just didn't live up to the billing. Why, well the book was almost 500 pages and the movie was 89 minutes. The movie skips a lot of details and worse, it tries to rush to fit as much as possible in. James Bond thrillers are non-stop action, but most realist spy movies are slower and paced, as is most real spying. It feels like they tried to do this on a budget and use TV pacing. Hiring Vaughn was probably due in part to his television background, thinking he would be more acceptable to this approach. He wasn't and it shows. Being a real actor with the chops to really shine in a great role, he must have been very disappointed when he got the final script. It lacked much of the character development and brooding pace. As I said, it's not a bad movie, just far short of it's potential. And, there is the classic line from the airport scene when he first lands in Veinna. Read the book after seeing the movie, it's a classic spy novel with tension that crackles.


"The Venetian Affair", based on Helen MacInnes bestseller, is one of the seemingly endless number of James Bond-inspired spy films that flooded cinemas in the mid to late 1960's. Despite a pedestrian script and direction, the film benefits from some great on-location scenery in Venice as well as a talented and eclectic cast. Robert Vaughn plays against type as an alcoholic reporter who is swept into an espionage case with international repercussions. Vaughn delivers the goods with a convincing, world-weary performance that was at odds with his weekly heroics as The Man From UNCLE (despite popular belief, this is not an UNCLE-related film). Karl Boehm is fine as the obligatory charming villain, Roger C. Carmel provides some light moments in the otherwise downbeat script, Boris Karloff has one of his last quality roles, and Thunderball Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi, queen of the '60's spy films, makes a brief but welcome appearance. Only Elke Sommer gums up the works with a typically wooden performance that is little more animated than the stone gargoyles that adorn the ancient Venetian buildings. In summary, an unremarkable, but entertaining film. Rarely seen in recent years, TCM has recently begun telecasting it in a glorious widescreen version. One hopes that a video release will eventually take place.


And a big yawn goes to "The Venetian Affair" from 1966.

Based on a Helen McInnes novel, none of which made successful films, it sports an interesting, if not great cast: Robert Vaughn, Ed Asner, Boris Karloff, Elke Sommer, and Karl Boehm. The most interesting things about it are Karloff and the shots of Venice, my favorite city. I wish it had been in color.

The beginning makes one think you're really going to see something. An American diplomat detonates a bomb during a conference on disarmament in Vienna. There doesn't seem to be any reason for him doing so, and the USA doesn't want to be blamed. They start looking for reasons.

Vaughn, playing a drunk named Bill Fenner, who is ex-CIA, is sent back into action by the CIA. He has an ex-wife who is a turncoat, and the CIA is sure he can locate her. They think she might have been involved or at least know something. Fenner never got over her, though you wouldn't know it since he propositions every woman he meets.

It becomes confusing from there -- and boring. Slow pace, and Vaughn was not the stuff movie stars are made of. It's normal when you have a big success like Man from U.N.C.L.E. to try your luck at films, but not everyone succeeds.

Despite what some people state on this board, that people who don't like this movie were expecting explosions and all sorts of car chases and CGI, etc, I didn't care about any of that and never have. It's just not a very intriguing film. All I ask from a spy film is some suspense and a really good story, along with the acting.

During this time, we had the James Bond films with all their gadgets, and U.N.C.L.E., and the producers tried to attract both audiences. A very routine film.


NOT a compilation of MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. episodes, THE VENETIAN AFFAIR is an exciting spy film starring Robert Vaughn and Karl Böhm. Vaughn is an ex-CIA agent lured back into work by cranky former superior Ed Asner. Trying to figure out why a US diplomat set off a bomb, blowing himself up along with 13 others, Vaughn runs into the likes of Elke Sommmer (as a shifty triple agent), Boris Karloff and Böhm, who plays a certifiable madman. The plot involves cold war espionage and mind-control and it's handled well by Jerry Thorpe, an episodic television director making a rare foray into features. The location work in Venice helps a lot. Vaughn is very Napoleon Solo-like (minus even a hint of humor) and he's well teamed with Roger C. Carmel as a paranoid co-worker. Lalo Schifrin provided the fun music score.


A rather mild spy tale, kept painless by a good cast, the uniquely atmospheric - and 100% authentic - Venice locations, and Lalo Schifrin's appropriate music score. However, the "good cast" needs some clarification: most of them are very good indeed, but Robert Vaughn, sporting a perpetually drowsy unshaven look, does not make for a very inspiring lead in this case; also, if you are drawn to the prospect of seeing two of the most beautiful AND experienced in the spy genre European actresses (Elke "Deadlier Than The Male" Sommer & Luciana "Thunderball" Paluzzi) together in the same movie, you're outta luck: Paluzzi has little more than a cameo, appearing for a total of no more than 3 minutes.The film tries to combine a serious tone with an over-the-top mind-control premise; it mostly works, except for the silly scene where Vaughn has to pretend that he is mortally afraid of a rat! ** out of 4.


Two things are noteworthy about The Venetian Affair. One was that Robert Vaughn tried to break out into the big screen like such television contemporaries as James Garner and Steve McQueen without the success that they had. The second was that this was the last film Boris Karloff did that was not related to the horror genre.

The film begins with a bang. An American diplomat is given a bomb and it detonates in a disarmament conference in Venice. No one can figure out why, but you can bet the USA does not want to be held responsible when forensics prove it was our guy who was the suicide bomber.

Our man in Venice for the CIA Edward Asner sends for former agent Robert Vaughn who is now an alcoholic newspaperman working for a wire service. They suspect his ex-wife Elke Sommer has something to do with it and he's the best at finding her. She's also the reason that he's no longer with the CIA.

Boris Karloff plays an elderly man of geopolitical mystery. He knows what's going on, but some sinister folks are controlling him.

The Venetian Affair is a pedestrian affair moving at a paint drying pace and Vaughn after being television's urbane Napoleon Solo in The Man From UNCLE never quite got his teeth in this part. Karl Boehm is a good villain and only at the very end do we find out who he is working for. As for the reason why the diplomat did the foul deed, that you watch The Venetian Affair for.


"The Venetian affair",in spite of the suicide bombing , starts very slowly and it's a muddled affair,in which Robert Vaugn seems lost and not that much interested .The female star,Elke Sommer,makes herself wait ,and it's finally a disappointing part.Ditto for Luciana Paluzzi,one of the best villain James Bond girls .

The movie becomes more interesting in its third part ,partially thanks to Karl Boehm who succeeds in being disturbing:the scene of the cat and the mouse is certainly the best in the whole flick;incidentally the final segment of the last "Sissi" in which Boehm was the nice emperor was also filmed in Venice.But he was also "peeping tom" and it shows in this poor spy thriller,probably made to capitalize on the success of Bond.


Mind-numbingly dull spy movie starring Robert Vaughn. I only watched this for Boris Karloff, who appears in a small role. He's good but not in this enough to matter much. Still, Karloff completists will want to check it out. Everyone else should just avoid it like the plague. It's such a boring, lifeless movie. I thought spy movies were supposed to be fun and full of action and intrigue? Apparently the people behind this didn't get the memo. Vaughn does fine as the lead but the script and direction give him little to work with. Elke Sommer and Felicia Farr provide the pretty. Ed Asner is decent in a supporting role. I fell asleep while watching this. I'm not kidding -- it literally put me to sleep during the scene where Vaughn finds the suitcase while the flute music is playing. When I woke up, I forced myself to rewind to this point and finish the movie. But man, it was a chore to do so. I can't and won't recommend this to anyone looking for a good '60s spy flick. This is the pits.


Any resemblance between this film and reality is purely coincidental. Much of it is shot in the attractive location of Venice, and whereas it is always nice to see canals, it is better still to see a film which is not complete nonsense. So many British films of the sixties were as empty and idiotic as this, and are best forgotten. Robert Vaughn is the star in this meaningless foray into ersatz intrigue. Various people are spies, one does not always know for whom, and they are plotting against each other and killing each other. Elke Sommer and Felicia Farr are the 'dames', with impossible sixties hair-does, false eyelashes longer than a tall tale, and puffy pouty lips (how did they do that before botox?). Sommer keeps telling Vaughn she loves him, quite suitable as she had once been married to him before leaving him without a word two years before, and despite being a Soviet spy, or whatever it is she really is, which is never made clear. Farr loves him. Everybody loves him except those who want to kill him. Why do they want to kill him exactly? He is supposed to work for a 'wire service' but never files a story. Then we are told he has been 'set up'. Then various people are told they can 'never escape from Venice'. Well, I felt I might never escape from that film. Mind control drugs are being used to turn people into 'robots' who will blow themselves up in diplomatic meetings and stop nuclear treaties from being signed. I think the bad guys got to the producer and director and screenwriter first, turned them into mental robots, and ordered them to make this film while in a mindless state. Product warning: May Damage Your Faith in the Cinema.


Robert Vaughn, Elke Sommer, Felicia Farr, Edward Asner and Boris Karloff tried to make this film a success with their great acting abilities. However, it turns into a dreary spy farce about an American diplomat who shocks the world when he blows up the international peace conference in Venice, killing all the delegates, including himself. The pacing of the film is tedious and very boring. Avoid seeing this film. As usual, Boris Karloff gave a great performance at an elderly age.
Wild Python

Wild Python

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?


Dr. Robert Vaughn (Ph.D Communications), one of the Hardest Working Television and Screen Actors, Stars in this Low-Key Spy Thriller that Manages some Intrigue, a Beautiful Landscape, and a Decent Score from Lalo Schifrin, a few Good Supporting Actors like Ed Asner, Boris Karloff, and Karl Boehm do Good Work, and Elke Sommers Doesn't Do Much.

The most Interesting Part is Not well Integrated, the Secret Psychotronic Weapon. The Third Act Picks Up the Pace that Lingered and Stalled previously. It's a Slow Burner for sure. The Plot can be Hard to Follow for a While, but there is just Enough Professionalism on hand to make this Worth a Watch.

Don't Expect James Bond's High Tectonics and a Silky Smooth Platte and You Might Like this, another Sixties Spy Thriller, one of the Super Serious Ones. Karl Boehm Almost Steals the Show in a Small Part.