Per Matt
Five secret bank account holders face off with unknown terrorists and the deadly consequences they bring in Film Masters’ The Swiss Conspiracy Special Edition. It’s mo’ money, mo’ problems, as the collector’s edition Blu-ray and DVD will be released on February 20th!

For those not in the know, Swiss bank accounts are the biggest industry for the European country. But dirty secrets often follow dirty money, even in Switzerland. In an all-new 4K restoration of Jack Arnold’s final feature film, a former U.S. Justice Department official played by David Janssen (best known as Dr. Richard Kimble in the original hit TV series, The Fugitive) is hired by a bank president (played by Ray Milland) to investigate and identify the blackmailers before it’s too late, while the Swiss Federal Police only complicate matters.

Based on the bestseller by Michael Stanley, this big-screen adaptation also features Elke Sommer, John Saxon, John Ireland, Senta Berger and David Hess. Self-described as “the ultimate blackmail thriller,” The Swiss Conspiracy was scanned in 4K from original 35mm archival elements. In the film’s first-ever high-quality release, Film Masters hired colorist and restoration expert Marc Wielage to bring back vibrant, original colors that haven’t been seen since this film’s 1976 debut.

Everyone seems to have skeletons hidden within their closets, including our investigator, who is frenemies with the very bank clients he’s helping, as well as the local police.

Always on the run as he’s chasing down clues, only one man can uncover the conspiracy. Janssen’s David Christopher knows how to take a punch (and dodge many bullets) while always staying ahead of his unknown opponents. With the bank’s reputation on the line, the end game is to stay rich by staying alive.

“Son, don’t you lose your head, ’cause your ass is sure to follow…”

Originally released in 1976, The Swiss Conspiracy definitely has a strong retro vibe, from its music, dialogue and style (as well as its disco dancers and leisure suits). Shot entirely in and around Zurich, director Jack Arnold knows his way around a camera, as the intro could’ve been filmed in 3D. Including lots of gunplay, a pair of Ferraris racing along scenic Swiss landscapes and some pretty good action scenes, this is the first “modern” release by Film Masters, which has so far only released black-and-white cult classics (many of them sci-fi and horror releases).

The Swiss Conspiracy is a welcome treat to cinephiles, but I’ve really enjoyed each of the dual releases making up past special collections by Film Masters. Unfortunately, here, there’s only one movie included, which is a bummer, but the bonus material is pretty great (as always). Overall, this collection is quite enjoyable.

“Jack Arnold: A Three-Dimensional Filmmaker” is a visual essay detailing the filmmaker’s roots. Originally known for B-movie classics such as The Incredible Shrinking Man, Tarantula, Creature from the Black Lagoon and It Came from Outer Space, he was also known for directing multiple episodes of TV shows like Gilligan’s Island, Mod Squad, Wonder Woman and The Love Boat. Initially, he learned to thread a camera via the Signal Corps in the military. He was naturally drawn to comedy, although universally known for sci-fi films bordering on horror. Arnold was an early adopter of new technology, including being a main developer of 3D equipment.

With The Swiss Conspiracy, he brought glamour and great photography to what amounts to the spy film genre.

Also included in this collection is a pair of trailers. The original from 1976 is interesting to see, which is scanned into 4K, and the 2024 recut trailer looks even better. Lee Pfeiffer (Editor-in-Chief of Cinema Retro) writes the liner notes in a full-color booklet, film historian Robert Kelly joins author/podcaster Daniel Budnik for audio commentary duties, and Ballyhoo Motion Pictures is responsible for “Jack Arnold: The Lost Years” featurette.

Film historian Ted Newsom discusses the filmmaker moving away from formulaic science fiction to psychological Westerns, and his transition into television during his later years. He got his big break with Universal low-budget films, eventually returning to Universal for regular TV work before eventually retiring. His career was definitely cyclical, something rarely seen in Hollywood.

I’ve truly been impressed with the work of Ballyhoo, everything the studio includes for Film Masters is consistently a favorite featurette of mine with each new release. And the work here is no different.

The Swiss Conspiracy is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Discs are region free and include English SDH. Audio is DTS-HD/Dolby AC3s, with a suggested retail price of $19.95 (for DVD) and $24.95 (for Blu-ray). For more details about this Special Edition collection, please visit Film Masters’ Webpage.