Ben Cross, Kate Nelligan and Brian Dennehy find themselves in a spiritless caper responding to faint echoes of “Topkapi” and “Mission: Impossible” but without the suavity. Diverting enough for the less demanding, director Al Waxman’s bland “The Diamond Fleece” doesn’t show much spark.
Idea is that an enormous diamond–the Carter–is in a New York jewelry store waiting to be cut.
Shop owner Kurt Reis and insurance man Gordon Pritchard have turned the case over to rugged Inspector Dennehy, who agrees that imprisoned jewel thief Cross would make an ideal guard for the hefty bauble. Just offer him the job and guarantee a parole.
Released, he cases the place, demonstrating the facility’s weaknesses and working on a scheme of his own with his partner, Tony Rosato.
Brightest aspect of the dim vidpic comes with the tangential intro of Nelligan as a bookstore owner who falls in love with Cross.
She also becomes fond of an ancient diamond cutter without recognizing he’s strictly zircon; it doesn’t speak much for her character’s smarts.
Michael Norell’s script, skipping among the principals, zigzags toward the conclusion.
Dennehy’s participation is at best undistinguished and Cross is miscast as the adventurous thief, but Nelligan’s a gem. Janet-Laine Green’s security chief is an asset and Rosato, playing the awkward role of Cross’s eager pal, acquits himself well enough.
Camerawork by Francois Protat is OK, as is Ralph Brunjes’ editing. Tech credits suffice.