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Das Geheimnis der Chinesischen Nelke

Secret of the Chinese Carnation
Il Segreto del Garofano Cinese / Le Secret de l'Oeillet Chinois / F.B.I. contre l'Oeillet Chinois

West Germany / Italy / France 1964
produced by
Wolf C. Hartwig for Rapid Film, Metheus Film, Les Films Jacques Leitienne, Imp.Ex.Ci., S.N. Astoria/Constantin Film
directed by Rudolf Zehetgruber
starring Brad Harris, Olga Schoberová, Paul Dahlke, Dietmar Schönherr, Dominique Boschero, Pierre Richard (II), Corrado Annicelli, Maria Vincent, Jacques Bézard, Klaus Kinski, Horst Frank, Siegfried Grönig, Karel Effa, Vladimír Hrubý, Milan Kindl, Lubomír Kostelka, Jindrich Narenta, Jan Pohan, Milos Vavruska
screenplay by Rudolf Zehetgruber, based on the novel Die Chinesische Nelke by Louis Weinert-Wilton, music by Milos Vacek

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Bexter (Corrado Annicelli) has developed a formula that might replace the need for oil altogether - which is why everybody's after it, including big oil man Sheridan (Paul Dahlke), Mary Lou (Dominique Boschero), owner of the Chinese Carnation, and her sidekick Speranzo (Klaus Kinski), and the very mysterious safecracker Legget (Horst Frank). As a warning Bexter's driver is blown to Kingdom come in his car. Thus Bexter is quick to at least send his daughter Susan (Olga Schoberová) to safety, guarded round the clock by private detective Ramsey (Brad Harris). And without anybody knowing, he sends a microfilm containing the formula with her. Good thing he does, because a short time later he's murdered, and now everybody's after the microfilm, first and foremost Bexter's partner Dr. Wilkens (Dietmar Schönherr), who might or might not be in cahoots with big oil. Ramsey takes the formula onto himself though, and hides it well under a patch of fake hair on his head, but from now on is pretty much constantly captured and tortured. Scotland Yard inspector Travers (Pierre Richard) catches up only very closely, but in the end does manage to gather all involved in a room, and now Legget is revealed to be a Secret Service agent, and the main baddie of the piece turns out to be Wilkens, who of course wanted to exploit the professor's formula for his personal gain.

 

Typical mid-1960s German krimi entertainment: The novelty of earlier films of the genre has worn off by now, but despite several what-the-fuck scenes the film hasn't drifted off into (not always intentional) self parody like later films would. The plot is of course pretty contrived and convoluted, but somehow still fun to watch as enough is happening to keep one entertained. And the cast is great in a 1960s sort of way, where not everybody's a great actor (Brad Harris being the prime example) but throwing these mostly well-known faces together is just so much fun. The result is anything but a masterpiece, but if you factor in nostalgia, you might as well really enjoy it.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
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special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
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written by
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produced by
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