Aka L’uomo che sfidò l’organizzazione, El hombre que desafiò a la organizacion
Running time: 85 minutes
Italy / Spain / France
A Bi.Di.A. (Rome), P.A.C. (Paris), Jose Frade Prod. Cin.Cas (Madrid) Film
Director: Sergio Grieco
Story & screenplay: Rafael Romero Marchent, Sergio Grieco
Cinematography: Fernando Arribas
Music: Luis Enríquez Bacalov
Editor: Mario Gargiulo
Cast: Howard Ross [Renato Rossini] (Steve) Karin Schubert (Maggie) Stephen Boyd (Inspector Mc Cormick) Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Alberto Dalbés, José Calvo, Nadine Perles
One Man Against the Organisation is a thoroughly mediocre crime film from the mid-1970s; a Spanish-Italian co-production which plays more like one of the eurospy films which had been so popular a decade earlier than the more contemporary, downbeat polizieschi of the period. As a result it feels out-of-time as well as derivative, and things aren’t at all helped by the variable technical qualities on display.
Howard Ross stars as Steve Barren, a baggage handler who helps local hoodlum Harry (Alberto Dalbés) smuggle drugs through customs at Madrid airport. Steve decides to pull a scam, though, and in collaboration with his girlfriend Margi (Karin Schubert) he double crosses Harry and steals all the dope for himself. Needless to say Harry is decidedly unhappy about all this – especially as his own boss, Lady Rebecca Rosenbaum (Jean-Claude Dreyfus in drag), is busting his cojones – and sends an array of goons to track down and capture Steve and Margi. Meanwhile, Interpol agent Stephen McCormick (Stephen Boyd) is lurking around in the background, hoping to take advantage of the situation and finally arrest his long-term nemesis Lady Rebecca.
Considering some of the people involved, this could have been half decent. Although his career had been on the wane for some years, director Sergio Grieco was a solid professional and specialised in action films, making several decent historical adventures and some of the better Eurospy films. His co-scripter was Rafael Romero Marchent, the more than capable writer and director of films such as The Heat of the Flame and Garringo. The car chases were organised by ace French stuntman Remy Julienne and there’s a soundtrack from the reliable Luis Bacalov.
Unfortunately, though, it’s a pretty dull and inconsistent film. The story isn’t bad, but it suffers from an uneven tone and is seemingly unable to decide whether it’s an comedy adventure film or a gritty noir. Certain sequences – most particularly the graphic gang rape of Karin Schubert – are rather extreme, even for the time, and most certainly out of place considering the generally lightweight tone of the production. Although the action sequences aren’t bad, the production values elsewhere are lacking, and it often looks cheap and shabby.
Things aren’t helped by the casting. Howard Ross makes for a rather charmless protagonist, while Karin Schubert sports a horrible haircut and looks incredibly mumsy. Weirdly none of the characters seem to realise that Lady Rebecca is actually a transvestite, which is peculiar considering that actor Jean-Claude Dreyfus is one of the least feminine actors imaginable (he’d go on to become a regular for Jean-Pierre Jeunet, appearing in Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children). Stephen Boyd is as good as always, though, and there’s entertaining support from familiar Spanish character actors Dalbes and José Calvo.