Illustration : MARC

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Day of the Assassins

Brian Trenchard-Smith, Carlos Vasallo | USA, Mexico, Spain | 1979


This Mexican/Spanish/American co-production from Tarantino favourite, Brian Trenchard-Smith was filmed in Guerrero, Mexico and is about as ad-hoc as you’d expect, remarkably squeezing four American tough guys: Chuck Conners, Richard Roundtree, Henry Silva and Glenn Ford into its tight 90 minute duration. Trenchard-Smith launches the viewer into a slapdash plot with Christakis (Ford) hiring Thomas Fleming (Connors) to retrieve a sensitive political document from a sunken yacht, formerly owned by a Middle East shah, in exchange for a $2 million dollar bounty.

Hot on Fleming’s heels is the highly competitive ex-CIA agent Fessler  (Richard Roundtree), former KGB operative Vasilenko (John Gailiard), trigger-happy Beltron (Andrés García), plus Vallone (Jorge Rivero) with his moll sidekick (played by producer Carlos Vasallo’s wife, Susana Dosamantes).

The action follows Fleming as he tries to get his hands on the document, impeded by the Mexican authorities (led by the ever reliable Henry Silva), not to mention the other interested parties. The on-screen action, which includes an effective sniper shot to the head, is competently handled by Australian-born Brian Trenchard-Smith, but his film ends up just limping rather than sprinting to the finish line, when all the threads are pulled together, unveiled in a quarry-based grand finale.











Following a dispute over Connor’s character, Trenchard-Smith was fired towards the end of the shoot by producer Vasallo. The few remaining un-filmed scenes were completed by Vasallo, who egotistically gave himself top-billing as co-director!

The first release Day of the Assassins received in the UK appeared in July 1982 when Peter Murnane’s Hello Video unveiled the film, using box art that echoed the American cinema artwork.. Nearly six years later, Global Sales Ltd offshoot Viz Video re-released the film with a newly commission illustration. Courtesy of Viz artwork mainstay, MARC, a microcephalic Connors is shown towering over a gun-toting midget Ford, which, coupled with the shout-out-loud colour scheme, creates an attention grabbing effect more in line with art brut than portraiture.


aka : Day of the Assassin; El Día de los Asesinos

cast : Chuck Connors, Glenn Ford, Henry Silva, Richard Roundtree, Andrés Garcia, Jorge Rivero, Susana Dosamantes, John Gailiard, Taylor Lacher, Bob Miller