John Prescott was a rich diamond mine owner. His niece Angela (Mary Arden) finds his dead body in the library. His notary, Jackson (Aldo Rendine), gathers all the potential heirs in one room for the reading of the will. In attendance are John’s son Julian (Charlie Charun ), his sister Martha (Giovanna Galletti), his nephew George (Ivano Staccioli), George’s wife Adriana (Nana Aslanoglu), John’s niece Angela, a distant relative Armando (Ivano Davoli) and John’s Secretary Giacomo (Sergio Ciani).
In a tape recorded will John tells the assembled heirs that his estate will be divided into three equal parts. The three parts will go to the three people that, in a month’s time, will be eligible to inherit. He tells everyone that since he had to work for his money, they must earn it too. If more than three people present themselves to Jackson at that time no one will get any of the estate. If there are three or less then they will share in the inheritance equally. During that month everyone must live at the estate.
In essence John is telling his heirs that they must kill each other so that only three people remain alive at the end of a month’s time to inherit. Naturally the police are interested in the terms of the will. Police Sergeant Robson (Roland Redman) is on hand to get a copy of it for his boss, Inspector Matt (Gilberto Mazzi). The police are also on hand because they already have a murder they must investigate, John Prescott’s. It doesn’t help that everyone is lying about everything and there is still a murderer running around.
As it turns out Prescott was more than a bit of a bastard and hated his heirs. They, in turn, hated him and each other. It’s not long before tempers flare and, knowing each other’s weaknesses, they start conniving and pushing each other’s buttons. They are all diabolical, evil and murderous.
“A… For Assassin” was released in 1966 and was directed by Angelo Dorigo. It is an Italian murder mystery thriller and an early example of giallo.
When the movie starts John Prescott is already dead. As each suspect is questioned by Inspector Matt their stories are told in a series of small flashbacks. The first part of the film is rather slow with everyone being established as who they are and what they were doing when the old guy got stabbed. After that it picks up considerably when everyone is manipulating everyone else. It begins to look as if who killed Prescott is not as important as who will end up on top when everyone starts killing everyone else. There appear to be no loyalties when it comes to money. What seems to be important is who kills who, how, and why. It makes for an interesting movie.
There are several things that make this film a little different from the standard giallo film. First it was early in the genre when the standard tropes were still being established. Second it was in black and white instead of color so blood was not a character in the film. Third the method of murder is different for each death and so are the killers. Fourth there is no real protagonist unless you count the police who really don’t solve anything. The character of Giacomo is played by Sergio Ciani. Ciani was a weightlifter that often used the name Alan Steel in many of his sword and sandal films.