Tiffany Memorandum (1967)

tiffany 3Country: Italy | France | Germany
Director: Sergio Greico (as Terence Hathaway)
Starring: Ken Clark, Irina Demick, Jacques Berthier, Luigi Vannuchi, Gregoire Aslan
Music: Riz Ortolani

The plot for the Tiffany Memorandum is more twisted than a bag of pretzels, with every character, with the exception of the blond haired square jawed hero, Dick Hallan (Ken Clark), presenting as someone different to who they truly are. As for the memorandum of the title, if you analyse the plot, it doesn’t even make sense. There is no memorandum as such – and if you’ll forgive the minor spoiler – the maguffin is a piece of videotape that has been used, like a ribbon, to decorate a negligee designed by Madame Tiffany. Yeah, you’re reading that and thinking I am speaking jibberish. Videotape! Wouldn’t that rub against the skin? As I said, it doesn’t really make sense, but let’s go with the flow, shall we? And maybe start at the beginning.

The Tiffany Memorandum starts in Paris. Dick Hallan, a reporter for the Herald Tribune, walks through the neon jungle to a swinging and infectious theme tune by Riz Ortolani. He ends up at an illegal gambling house and after casing the room, takes a seat at the roulette wheel. Whether Hallan is working a story or just there to blow some of his hard earned cash is never explained. He places a bet. As the wheel spins the croupier reaches for a secret button under the table – a device to ensure there are no winners. Hallan grabs the croupier’s hand before he has a chance to activate the device. The ball runs its natural course, and what-do-you-know, Hallan’s number comes up.

140324-tiffany-memorandum-0-230-0-341-cropAnother gambler also benefits from Hallan’s intervention – this gentleman just happens to be Francisco Aguirrez (Michel Bardinet) – the highly favoured democratic candidate for the Republic of El Salvador. Hallan and Aquirrez become friends and leave the club together. As they walk back to their hotel, hoods from the casino come after Hallan – trying to get back their money. While Hallan engages in some brutish fisticuffs, Aguirrez is assassinated in a drive by shooting.

There is naturally enough a police investigation. At the police station, Hallan notices that Aquirrez’s chauffeur, is brought in for questioning. For some reason, to Hallan, that makes him the prime suspect, and he chooses to follow him. The chauffeur boards a train to Berlin – with his travelling companion, Sylvie Maynard (Irina Demick). Hallan also boards the train. On route, the train is derailed – you really have to see the model used for this, it is little more than a standard Hornby train set. The end result of this calamity is that the chauffeur is killed and in the confusion, Hallan is mistaken for him.

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From here on out, the film gets confusing with multiple parties all after the macguffin. There are car chases, fist fights and a crazy climax at a television studio.

In the past I have enjoyed Ken Clark’s other spy outings – Mission Bloody Mary, From the Orient With Fury and Special Mission: Lady Chaplin – but apart from one or two stylish touches, Tiffany Memorandum falls flat. It tries too hard to keep the viewer guessing, twisting and turning every which way, but by the 97th plot twist most viewers will have given up trying to follow the plot – and arty visuals do not a film make. This is one for the hard core EuroSpy fans only.

2 Comments Posted in Film, Film and Cinema
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2 Comments

  1. I´ve just finished to watch it. Before doing it I had read your article and I can´t say I was not warned : the train derailment scene is incredible (LOL ) , I am still laughing from it.
    If Sergio Grieco wanted to mix movie with toys animation he should have consulted with the english director Gerry Anderson who used to master this area.
    However there are other European movies on which special effects were replaced by special defects ; for instance, if you watched Doppia Face (Double face) 1969 directed by Riccardo Freda you will see the worst movie ever made by the actor Klauss Kinsky , with toy trains and cars that careens down a papier mache hill and crash into cardboard trees.
    If I were a director I would be ashamed of having my name credited in the movie for such kind of scene.
    Not that I did not know Sergio Grieco´s work before as I watched “The Fuller report” (1968).
    Some of usual clichés are on Tiffany Memo too.
    On the scene in the Casino I was expecting Ken Clark to say : “My name is BOnd , James BOnd”.
    Likewise Fuller report the shootings and brawling scenes lack realism : whenever a gun is fired even a child can see that nothing happened at all , not even a bit of smoke and the guns shot noise sounds always the same , likewise those spaghetti western “B” productions.
    I think I have heard too much John Barry´s compositions for James Bond movies and to be honest Riz Ortolani is not my favorite .
    Tifanny´s soundtrack does not get there.
    Following your recommendation now I will watch Special Mission: Lady Chaplin and find out whether Ken Clarck does better in this flick.

  2. By the way I forgot to mention I was expecting to be pleased with some nude scene of the beautiful Irene Demick. It could have happened @ 00:53 , but my hopes were foiled.
    It doesn´t matter , 2 years later she would appear briefly in such condition in the movie Le clan des Siciliens – Henri Vernuil.

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