End of the Game / Der Richter und sein Henker (1975)

3.5 out of 5

Beginning with a bet concerning the perfect crime, End of the Game is an odd and quirky twisty turning thriller that veers between caper-like breeziness and a similar downbeat feel to Short Night of Glass dolls.

A German and Italian co-production from Maximilian Schell the film stars Jon Voight, Robert Shaw and Jacqueline Bisset alongside genre favourite Gabriele Ferzetti. Donald Sutherland plays a corpse in a scene of Bava-esque black humour and the film features all the twists of giallo with dollops of Grand Slam-like betrayal. The score from Ennio Morricone echoes the flight from whimsy to melancholy and back again.

Part caper, part thriller, occasionally political, sometimes procedural, romantic and at times warm and tender, this is a film that likes to cover all the bases. It is, however, pretty light on action and undivided concentration is required to keep track of who is doing what to who and why. Locations include Istanbul and Berne. There is, of course, a final twist of twists.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics