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The robbery of a money transport right on Tower Bridge goes somewhat
wrong when Mason (Victor Maddern), the guard in cahoots with the
robbers, shoots his colleague dead, however the criminals do get away
with the money, & Mason soon ends up dead anyway.
But where did
the money go, asks inspector Elliott (Leo Genn) of Scotland Yard &
his superior, Sir John (Cecil Parker). The trail leads to Barberini's
(Anthony Newlands) circus's winter quarters, where just about everybody seems suspicious:
||the lion tamer Gregor, who was disfigured in an
accident with his lions to a point that he doesn't bear showing
himself anymore without a mask, hiding his face;
||his niece & apprentice Natasha (Suzy Kendall),
whose father is an escaped criminal;
||ringmaster Carl (Heinz Drache), who seems to have
more on his mind than to just announce the acts;
||local circus beauty Gina (Margaret Lee);
||her jealous lover & knifethrower Mario (Maurice
||the sinister dwarf Mr Big (Skip Martin), who takes a
delight in blackmailing just about everyone;
||& of course harmless bookkeeper Eddie (Eddi
Arent), who so wants to be a clown.
To further complicate matters, it turns out that Gregor really has
the money, but was not part of the robbery, while Manfred (Klaus
Kinski), who does not have the money, was part opf the robbery & now
hangs about the premises too. Plus, some knifethrower is diminuishing
the cast, but might it be Mario ?
& when a storeroom, where Gregor has hidden the money, is set
afire & Gregor is revealed to be his own criminal brother (as played
by Christopher Lee, who - knowing the costcutting methods of Harry Alan
Towers - most probably did not play Gregor while still masked), who Carl
wants to take revenge on. Out of love for Natasha, he changes his mind
in the last minute though, only for Gregor to soon be killed by the
sinister knifethrower/mastermind of the Tower-bridge-robbery himself.
But who might that be ?
At the end, inspector Elliot comes up with an overly complicated
& highly unlikely scheme to unmask the mastermind, who turns out to
be - for some reason - harmless Eddie ...
In the 1960's, both Merton Park Studios in Great
Britain & Rialto Film
in Germany produced successful series on the works of mystery writer
Edgar Wallace - indepentdently from one another of course -, & so it
seemed to be only a matter of time, before someone decided to combine
both series to - presumably - double the success. That someone - to
little surprise - was Harry Alan Towers, a pan-European producer who was
always keen to jump any bandwagon. He thus brought together key actors
from both series (Anthony Newlands & Maurice Kaufmann from the Merton
Park-series, Heinz Drache, Klaus Kinski & Eddi Arent [the
record-holder in Edgar Wallace-starring roles] from Rialto)
to have them star in a nostalgically enjoyable but at the same time
overly convoluted murder mystery, that has way too many subplots that
lead nowhere interesting to really follow the main thread, & the
solution of it all is done in a rather rabbit-out-of-the-hat-way, with
no real clues leading to Eddie until the very last scenes - in fact, one
is in the end left with the dissatisfying feeling, it might have been
just about anybody else as well.