Janssen plays David Christopher, a former Treasury agent who is now living in Geneva. When a Swiss bank is contacted by blackmailers who threaten to reveal the secret account numbers of some of its most prominent and unsavory clients, the bank’s president, Johann Hurtill (Ray Milland), hires Christopher to find out who is behind the plot. Unfortunately, one of the account holders is a U.S. gangster named Robert Hayes (John Saxon, naturally) and he’s not happy about having to work with a former fed.
With The Swiss Conspiracy, you know what you’re getting into the minute that the film opens with a narrator giving a lengthy explanation about how Swiss bank accounts work. This is one of those 70s thriller where the budget is low, the plot is often nonsense, and the entire cast seems to be more interested in hitting the slopes than actually making a convincing movie. The cast is full of familiar actors who, at the time of filming, had seen better days. Along with Ray Milland, John Ireland, Anton Diffring, and Elke Sommer all have small roles while “German screen sensation” Senta Berger is cast as the woman who might be in love with David Christopher. Martin Landau is not in this movie but it certainly feels like he should have been.
David Janssen made a lot of movies like this in the 70s. Janssen was a good actor and he was especially skilled at playing grizzled tough guys but in The Swiss Conspiracy, he seems to be more interested in checking out the sights than in anything else. You can’t really blame him because the film was shot on location in Zurich and the local scenery is always more interesting than anything else that’s happening on screen.
The Swiss Conspiracy was directed by Jack Arnold, a veteran B-movie director who was also did The Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man. His direction in The Swiss Conspiracy is workmanlike and undistinguished but he does make great use of the locations. The Swiss Conspiracy may not be a great movie but I’ll damned if I don’t want to hop on the next plane and head to Switzerland for the week.