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"The Swiss Conspiracy" - Swiss Blackmail Action Adventure
released on May 17, 1976
The Actors: David Janssen (David Christopher), Senta Berger (Denise Abbott), John Ireland (Dwight McGowan), John Saxon (Bobby Hayes), Ray Milland (Johann Hurtil), Elke Sommer (Rita Jensen), Anton Diffring (Franz Benninger), Arthur Brauss (Herr Kosta), Inigo Gallo (Captain Frey), Curt Lowens (hit man Korsak), David Hess (hit man Sando), Hans-Joerg Bahl (Sergeant Schwand), Sheila Ruskin (Connie), Irmgard Forst (Florelle), Wilhelm von Homburg (hit man in Santa Claus costume)
Private Money . . . Public Death
Today it is another day, and another report of a billion or so credit card numbers, pin codes and address information stolen from a big retail database. It seems that the more secure we become, the less secure we are. I still have my first credit card from 1976 . . . It is orange, with my name in raised letters and J.C. Penny printed on it. There is nothing on the reverse side . . . no magnetic strip, no chip, no text . . . nothing . . . Just my name in raised letters and the store name in some kind of ink printed on the front of the card. The card would be placed in a large metal thing and a three part carbon form put on top of it and a quick swipe across the paper and card and my name would be impressed on the carbon forms. Later in the office a clerk would read my name on the carbon forms and look up my index card in their files and with a pencil add my most recent purchase to a list that would be typed onto a statement and sent to me at the end of the month. How times have changed. There were still money crimes back in 1976, but computers and hackers thousands of miles away from the crime scene were not involved. In this action adventure Ray Milland is Johann Hurtil, owner of a private Swiss bank, and he is in trouble. The customers of the bank have numbered accounts - the only identification connected to their money is a secret number . . . and no one . . . absolutely no one . . . knows which number belongs to which customer except two men . . . the owner of the bank and his trusted assistant with the combination to the vault that holds not only the money but the ledger with the names and secret numbers of the customers. It seems that someone is blackmailing the bank and five of its customers, and the blackmailer knows the numbers of the accounts for these five people. David Janssen is a special investigator who used to work for the U.S. Justice Department and the bank hires him to deliver the ransom money and discover who the blackmailers are and bring them to justice. As the movie begins one of the blackmailed customers is shot dead as he sits in a Swiss restaurant, and soon another customer, a gangster from America, is brutally murdered. Because of some clever plot lines we soon believe that we know who the blackmailers are, but things get a bit foggy later on and we may discover that the man behind the extortion is someone we never suspect . . . and the motives for the blackmail may involve more than just money for nothing . . . Five blackmailed customers . . . two dead and now we have three . . . One of them is possibly involved in the scheme . . . or maybe it is even more devious than that . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the trip to Zurich.
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Some of my Favorites:
Probably my all time favorite movie, My Man Godfrey in 1936 not only gives us an comedic peek at the wealthiest and poorest during the Great Depression, but also was the vehicle for Carole Lombard to create the movie icon of the 'dumb blonde screwball comedy' that is a popular theme even today.
Meet John Doe - 1941: The Frank Capra classic set in the Great Depression era that pits the common man against the political masters. You can't be a fan of old movies until you watch Frank Capra's old movies. This one premiered seventy years ago, and it still stirs our emotions and thoughts now. It is as timely as if it were produced today.
Angel and the Bad Man - 1947: One of the great teachers of the Secret Law of Attraction is Dr. Joe Vitale . . . but before he was even born actor John Wayne paid for and produced this Cowboy Western that featured The Law of Attraction.
The Time of Your Life - 1948: James Cagney financed this strangely different feel-good movie, and he plays the part of Joe, a barfly that tries to live his life by making everyone around him better. I watch this one often, and try to become more like Joe every day.
Painted Faces - 1929: Comedy legend Joe E. Brown is a circus clown in a surprisingly serious role as a juror in a Christmas week murder trial who tells the other jurors a story that will change their verdicts in a pre-code drama that could not have been made a few years later.
Charade - 1963: It doesn't get much better than Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in a tale of death, deception, spies and lost wealth as a woman tries to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in this cold-war spy thriller love story.