Assault on a Queen (1966)

Adventure, Crime, Thriller
Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa, Richard Conte
A group of adventurers refloat a WWII German submarine and prepare to use it to pull a very large heist; The Queen Mary which they plan to rob on the high seas.
  • N/A Company:
  • UNRATED Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 15 Jun 1966 Released:
  • 24 Jun 1992 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Jack Finney (novel), Rod Serling (screenplay) Writer:
  • Jack Donohue Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:


Terrific novel but poorly directed film5/10
First of all, this poster for this movie is incredible. One of my all time favorites. This movie was really hard to find until recently (just came out on blu-ray April 2012) so years ago I found an old paperback of the Jack Finney novel and read it. Loved the story. Then, finally, I was able to see the movie ... disappointing. My biggest complaint is the direction: absolutely flaccid, dull and without any creativity. Not surprisingly the director, Jack Donohue, was a hack TV director almost his entire career and only directed a handful of movies - none of them good. And so Assault on a Queen feels soooo slow when it really should be fast paced and have high energy. The great Rod Serling wrote the script from a fun novel, so I'm not going to blame the writing. And the acting was fine too. The only other problem was the music: poorly used and sparse and never seemed appropriate for the scene. I suppose I can blame the director for this too since he'd be the one overseeing where it was used.

Anyway, worth watching for fans of 60s heist movies. I like it, but wish it were better.
To Have and Have Not Meets The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.4/10
Frank Sinatra just got tired of challenges in his movie parts during the mid sixties and this film is the perfect example of same. Sinatra is doing a pale imitation of Humphrey Bogart's character in To Have And Have Not and he's even got a drunken companion in Errol John, just like Bogey had Walter Brennan. In walks Lauren Bacall in the form of Virna Lisi into Sinatra's life. Only problem is she's already spoken for by Tony Franciosa.

Tony, Virna, and former U-Boat captain Alf Kjellin are hunting for sunken treasure and hire Sinatra as a diver. When he spots a sunken U-Boat the plans change. Oh, boy we're going to become pirates instead and we're going to rob the Queen Mary. Along the way the gang picks up Richard Conte who became a Sinatra hanger-on in the last years of his career. He's a mechanic who fixes up the boat, barely.

Well these geniuses with thousands of miles of open sea to do their crime, decide to rob the Queen in U.S. waters where the Coast Guard is operating. What happens to this bunch and their budding careers as pirates is the rest of the movie.

Sinatra just sails through this part on his hipster reputation and Virna Lisi is decorative. The acting honors go to Tony Franciosa who actually tries to do some serious acting in his part as charming sleazeball Victor Rossiter.

The script is by Rod Serling who should have stuck to the surreal world of The Twilight Zone. And Duke Ellington contributed an original jazz score. Around that time Sinatra and Ellington did an album together called Francis A. meets Edward K. Now that was good collaboration.

Old Blue Eyes should have stuck to the charter boat and diving in this film.
A nice crime movie for the seas7/10
Hollywood was cranking out a ton of these type of crime movies in the 1960's. I found Assault on a Queen to be one of the better ones. In fact I liked Frank Sinatra's character better in this title than his role in the better known and received 1960's version of Ocean 11. The movie's plot was not as absurd as some critics would like you to think it was.

Frank plays Mark Brittain a former navy officer who intends to raise a sunken world war II German submarine, clean it up and repair it then sail it out to the middle of the ocean, and wait for the Queen Mary to cross paths, then board the Queen Mary and steal the ships most precious cargo, cash and gold.

Frank meets up with a couple who can underwrite the funding of the German submarine's salvage and repair and who are willing to join the crew to rob the Queen Mary on the high seas. Richard Conte plays an ex navy mechanic named Tony Moreno whose assignment is to get the submarine sea worthy. Virna Lisi is the attractive Italian financier and her male companion is a young and good looking Anthony Franciosa. Anthony plays a bit of a slime ball boyfriend named Vic Rossiter who treats Virna Lis's character Rosa Lucchesi as more of a possession than as his soul mate. Rosa invariably falls for the strong and true character of Mark Brittain which causes more than a little tension on the submarine between Mark and Vic.

Without spoiling the ending suffice to say that there is some drama and danger on the high seas when Sinatra's crew board the Queen Mary. The plan was to go off like clockwork, but they encountered more than a bit of rough water if you get my drift. (No pun intended)

I thought the movies criminal plot was very original and the acting of the three main characters played by Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi and Anthony Franciosa was excellent. The movie moved along at a great pace because the story line was original, and the acting was stellar. Not a very big cast, and the scenery is limited to mainly life on the submarine, but I enjoyed the story line for a 1960's crime movie that is well worth watching if you like the adventure/crime genre.
A harmless trifle4/10
A harmless trifle directed by Jack Donohue. Frank Sinatra is oddly cast as a scuba diver(!) for hire who teams up with a band of criminals to hijack and rob the Queen Mary. Sinatra has great chemistry with leading lady Virna Lisi and there's some glossy cinematography by William H. Daniels. Duke Ellington provides the jazzy music score. All of this is really for naught since most of the film is spent on the planning of the heist and therefore fairly dull. The rag tag supporting cast includes Alf Kjellin, Richard Conte and Anthony Franciosa as the group's resident hothead. The script is by Rod Serling (from a story by Jack Finney) so one would expect a whole lot more than what one gets.
A truly enjoyable adventure !10/10
This is a remarkable enjoyable adventure. I first saw this movie when I was a small boy of 8 years old. I have seen it several times since and I am still amazed by how much I like this movie. To an 8 year old this is a tale of adventure , risk , reward , and right over wrong. The musical soundtrack while limited is truly inspired by the plot. If you release yourself from the everyday roll of life and just let that little child in you come out with an awe of the impossible you will totally be absorbed by the picture. The acting is OK , the cloths dated , the bravado overacted but no matter how many things about this movie are just plain bad - the overall premise is inspiring . I am finding it hard to not give away any plot but I would not want to spoil this experience for anyone. Give it a try - you will not be disappointed.