A law-and-order thriller focusing on the international narcotics trade, Interpol (aka Pickup Alley) harks back to such dire warnings as Port of New York and To The Ends of the Earth. It looks forward, too. Courtesy of co-producer Albert (Cubby) Broccoli, who five years hence would issue the first film in the deathless 007 franchise, Dr. No, this British-made movie serves as a brief, black-and-white preview of the trans-global intrigues James Bond would soon be set to smashing.
The surly secret agent here is drug-enforcement officer Victor Mature, and his motives are not merely professional: Not only is his `kid sister' hopelessly hooked to the needle, but in the pre-credits opening scene, a female colleague ends up strangled with her own scarf by heroin kingpin Trevor Howard, an arch and urbane adversary who flourishes a cigarette holder, like Charles Grey's Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. In pursuit, Mature jets from New York to London and thence to Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Naples and back to the States.
There's even an exotic Bondgirl (Anita Ekberg), shanghaied into working against her former boss, and an amusing local helpmate (Bonar Colleano) as an expatriate Yank peddling junk and souvenirs to tourists in the Eternal City. He first pops up before an excursion into the Catacombs, where death proves to be not always ancient. Similar set-pieces chases across rooftops and up and down steep streets enliven other ports of call.
But, like many of the Bond movies, Interpol comes at you in sections. We cool down from one diversion in anticipation of the next. But there's not much thought given to a determining plot-line or sustaining mood. And the major characters aren't given much in the way of, well, character; to make matters worse, they're barely allowed to interact. Most of what Interpol has to offer was already done earlier in the noir cycle (occasionally by Mature and even Howard), or would be done better in the splashier spectacles of the 1960s. And let's face it: Apart from her frolic in the fountain in La Dolce Vita, Ekberg would never amount to much of a fixture in film history.