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Venetian Bird

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Venetian Bird
Directed byRalph Thomas
Written byVictor Canning
Based onVenetian Bird
by Victor Canning
Produced byBetty Box (producer)
Earl St. John (executive producer)
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byGerald Thomas
Music byNino Rota
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (1952, UK, theatrical)
United Artists (1953, US, theatrical)
Release date
Running time
95 minutes (UK)
90 minutes (US)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£80,000[1]

Venetian Bird is a 1952 British thriller film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Richard Todd, Eva Bartok and John Gregson.[2] Adapted by Victor Canning from his own 1950 novel of the same title, in its US release, it was titled The Assassin.


British private detective Edward Mercer (Richard Todd) is employed to travel to Venice and locate an Italian who is to be rewarded for his assistance to Allied airmen during the Second World War. Once he arrives in Italy, however, he becomes mixed up in an assassination and a great deal of mystery. The mystery revolves around whether Renzo Uccello (John Gregson) actually died a few years earlier in World War II or not.



Michael Balcon originally rejected the idea of a film based on Canning's novel because it was set in Italy and dealt with Italians, not Britons. Betty Box appealed to Earl St John who over-ruled Balcon. Italian censors did require the script clear up the portrayal of political struggles in post-war Venice that were in the novel.[3]

The film was shot entirely on location in Venice. Box and Thomas decided not to use colour as they felt it would not suit the genre.[4]


  1. ^ BFI Collections: Michael Balcon Papers H3 reprinted in British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference by Sue Harper, Vincent Porter p 41
  2. ^ IMDb Plot Summary: The Assassin
  3. ^ British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference by Sue Harper, Vincent Porter Oxford University Press, 2003 p 38
  4. ^ HOWARD THOMPSON (14 September 1952). "BY WAY OF REPORT: Box -- Thomas Activities -- Cinema 16 Plans --". New York Times. p. X5.

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Venetian Bird
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