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Gold bullion worth USD 1 billion has been stolen from a hijacked train in Denmark. The main suspect is Count Massimo Contini. The US government sends Matt Helm, one of its top agents, to investigate and recover the gold.
Vineyard owner Marquis Philippe de Montfaucon (David Niven) is called back to his castle Bellenac because of another dry season. He asks his wife and children to remain in Paris, but they still come after him. His wife Catherine de Montfaucon (Deborah Kerr) soon discovers that her husband is acting mysteriously and that his employees are following old pagan rituals that call for the life of the Marquis to save the crops.Written by
Returning with her husband to his château in the French countryside, a woman gradually learns of his impending desire to yield a good crop field by partaking in a pagan ritual sacrifice that puts her and her children in danger and must stop it from transpiring.
This here turned out to be quite an unusual and disappointing effort. The film's biggest issue here is the fact that there's the utterly overused angle of thinking it's creepy when people knowingly withhold information crucial to the survival of others and yet can't reveal anything, essentially being unable to stop talking about it but never saying anything. This is a common theme in numerous movies and has never worked out well since it basically keeps the movie going along but does nothing with it that hasn't been done in those other efforts, making this off to be a cliché as well as basically doing nothing for the film anyway. As well, the details of the belief that powers through this is just utterly confusing, never really making any bit of sense as to why the ceremony was adopted or what it's supposed to prove which just makes the whole effort confusing, and as well the film does seem to run on a little longer than it should, stretched out by the needless withholding of information causing unnecessary investigations that go nowhere since they're all stone-walled or dead-ends, and it's only piecing everything together at the end does this evoke any sort of terror. That said, it's still got some solid, enjoyable moments here, for the discovery in the forest mausoleum leading to the raid by the black-hooded figures is chilling, the town-hall ceremony has a few surprises and the finale employs a clever trick to really sell what's going on quite nicely. Beyond that, the eerie behavior of everyone around is quite a bit of fun and gets pretty chilling at times, especially towards the one girl who is so off that there's an unnerving atmosphere that plays into the whole secrecy surrounding the whole proceedings, making for a better film than it sounds but still not as good as it could've been.
Today's Rating/PG: Violence and children-in-danger.
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