The Assassination Bureau

The Assassination Bureau Limited

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Relph
Screenplay by Michael Relph
Wolf Mankowitz
Based on The Assassination Bureau, Ltd.
1963 novel
by Jack London
Robert L. Fish
Starring Oliver Reed
Diana Rigg
Telly Savalas
Curd Jürgens
Music by Ron Grainer
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Teddy Darvas
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
10 March 1969
Running time
110 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Assassination Bureau Limited (released in North America as The Assassination Bureau) is a black comedy Technicolor film made in 1969 based on an unfinished novel, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd by Jack London. It stars Oliver Reed, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, and Curd Jürgens and was directed by Basil Dearden. Unlike London's original novel, which is set in the United States, the film is set in Europe.


In London, during the early 1900s, aspiring journalist and women's rights campaigner Sonia Winter (Diana Rigg) uncovers an organisation that specialises in killing for money, the Assassination Bureau, Limited. To bring about its destruction, she commissions the assassination of the bureau's own chairman, Ivan Dragomiloff (Oliver Reed).

Far from being outraged or angry, Dragomiloff is amused and delighted and decides to put it to his own advantage. The guiding principle of his bureau, founded by his father, has always been that there was a moral reason why their victims should be killed – these have included despots and tyrants. More recently though, his elder colleagues have tended to kill more for financial gain than for moral reasons. Dragomiloff, therefore, decides to accept the commission of his own death and challenge the other board members: Kill him or he will kill them!

With Miss Winter in tow, Dragomiloff sets off on a tour of Edwardian Europe, challenging and systematically purging the bureau's senior members. Little do they realise that this is a plot by Miss Winter's sponsor, newspaper publisher Lord Bostwick (Telly Savalas), to take over the bureau {Bostwick is the bureau's vice-chairman and is bitter for having been passed over in favour of the founder's son}. Bostwick and the other members of the Bureau plan to get rich quick by the "biggest killing" of them all — buying stocks in arms factories and then propelling Europe into war by assassinating all the heads of state of Europe while they attend a secret peace conference where the kings, emperors and prime Ministers of Europe are trying to avoid a possible war caused by a Balkan prince who was killed by a bomb intended for Dragomiloff

Dragomiloff and Miss Winter uncover the plot — dropping a bomb from a hijacked Zeppelin airship onto the castle in Ruthenia where the peace conference is held. Dragomiloff steals aboard the airship and destroys it, killing the remaining members of his board of directors. He is then decorated by the heads of state he has saved. It is implied that Dragomiloff may wed Miss Winter as well.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Cameo cast

  • John Abineri as Police Inspector
  • Jonathan Adams as French President
  • Patrick Allen as Narrator
  • Neal Arden as "La Belle Amie" Client
  • Sydney Arnold as "La Belle Amie" Client
  • Pauline Barker as Nursemaid
  • Jane Bates as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Victor Beaumont as von Pinck's Aide
  • Mona Chong as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • John Crocker as "La Belle Amie" Client
  • Bill Cummings as Bureau Member
  • Anthony Dawes as Assistant Editor
  • Alicia Deane as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Roy Degay as Tsar
  • Jim Delaney as Undertaker
  • Carmen Dene as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Dominique Don as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Sally Douglas as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Steve Emerson as Bureau Member
  • Fred Emney as Elevator Victim
  • Felix Felton as Beer Cellar Proprietor
  • Harry Fielder as Soldier
  • Ray Ford as Bureau Member
  • Michael Gover as Venice Hotel Manager
  • Angela Grant as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Peter Graves as Dragomiloff's Butler
  • Dianne Greaves as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Olive Gregg as Eleanora Spado (voice)
  • John Hallam as Bureau Member
  • Maurice Hedley as Military Man at Lowe's
  • John G. Heller as von Pinck's Aide
  • Arthur Hewlett as Counterman at Lowe's
  • Hubert Hill as Kaiser
  • Katharine Holden as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Stephen Hubay as Bureau Member
  • Malcolm Johns as Piero
  • Elizabeth Knight as Nursemaid
  • Nita Lorraine as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Philip Madoc as Officer
  • Terence Maidment as Bureau Member
  • Michael Mellinger as Venice Police Sergeant
  • Georgina Moon as Nursemaid
  • Jim O'Brady as Henchman
  • Robert Rietti as Police Officer with Eleanora
  • Kevin Stoney as Blind Beggar
  • Dermot Tuohy as Archduke Ferdinand
  • Colin Vancao as "La Belle Amie" Client
  • Sue Vaughan as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Desmond Walter-Ellis as Equerry
  • Chris Webb as Undertaker
  • Sheree Winton as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Karen Young as "La Belle Amie" Girl
  • Raymond Young as Police Officer with Sonya

Video releases

This film has been released both as a VHS video and as a Region 1 DVD.

See also


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