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Monday, March 27, 2017

The French Atlantic Affair (1979)

A luxury liner going from New York to France is hijacked by a religious fanatic (Telly Savalas) and members of his cult for ransom. The owners of the liner are given 48 hours to meet their demands. The biggest problem is that the cult members are sprinkled in among the regular passengers and there's no way of identifying them. Based on the 1977 novel by screenwriter Ernest Lehman (NORTH BY NORTHWEST), who unfortunately did not adapt his book for the small screen. At a five hour running time, there's a lot of flab that could have been excised and the changes made from the book aren't such a good idea. Like turning two adult physicians in the book into kids here. The film is crammed with actors but very few have substantial roles and many are merely cameos and some like Carolyn Jones are shamefully wasted. The two most interesting characters aren't even on the ship! They are a German terrorist (Richard Jordan) and a French prostitute (Marie France Pisier) based in Paris. They're both far more engrossing than the bland lovers (Chad Everett, Michelle Phillips) on the ship who take up too much time. Directed by Douglas Heyes. The huge (and I mean huge) cast includes Shelley Winters, Louis Jourdan, Stella Stevens, Jose Ferrer, Ted Danson, Horst Buchholz, Donald Pleasence, James Coco, Jean Pierre Aumont, Corinne Calvet, Dane Clark, John Houseman, Patricia Barry, Nehemiah Persoff, John Rubinstein, Richard Anderson and Jacqueline Beer.   

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