The Amsterdam Kill (1978)

R | 93 mins | Drama | 31 March 1978

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HISTORY

Although the 14 Sep 1976 DV referred to the film as Kill Him in Amsterdam, on 29 Oct 1976 it reported that Kill Them in Amsterdam had been renamed The Amsterdam Kill. Other working titles included The Cold Wind Kills, according to the 22 Nov 1976 People, and Quinlan Must Die!, as stated in a 31 Aug 1977 HR news item.
       The name of writer Gregory Tiefer is misspelled “Gregory Teifer” in the opening credits.
       Although both Tiefer and writer-director Robert Clouse receive screenwriting credits, an article in the 23 Jan 1978 HR stated that Clouse was the sole writer of the picture’s original screenplay.
       Hoping to capitalize on the worldwide interest in the Golden Harvest Group after it made four Bruce Lee films, the Hong Kong-based production conglomerate planned to launch a series of high quality English-language movies that would garner even broader international appeal. The Amsterdam Kill, the first picture in that initiative, shot some soundstage scenes in Hong Kong but otherwise filmed on location in Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands, London, England, and Hong Kong, according to production notes from AMPAS library files and an article in the 6 Oct 1976 Var.
       As reported by the 22 Nov 1976 Box, principal photography on The Amsterdam Kill began 6 Oct 1976 in Amsterdam and the movie had been completed by 16 Mar 1977, according to that day’s Var.
       Although an article in the 6 Oct 1976 Var reported the picture ... More Less

Although the 14 Sep 1976 DV referred to the film as Kill Him in Amsterdam, on 29 Oct 1976 it reported that Kill Them in Amsterdam had been renamed The Amsterdam Kill. Other working titles included The Cold Wind Kills, according to the 22 Nov 1976 People, and Quinlan Must Die!, as stated in a 31 Aug 1977 HR news item.
       The name of writer Gregory Tiefer is misspelled “Gregory Teifer” in the opening credits.
       Although both Tiefer and writer-director Robert Clouse receive screenwriting credits, an article in the 23 Jan 1978 HR stated that Clouse was the sole writer of the picture’s original screenplay.
       Hoping to capitalize on the worldwide interest in the Golden Harvest Group after it made four Bruce Lee films, the Hong Kong-based production conglomerate planned to launch a series of high quality English-language movies that would garner even broader international appeal. The Amsterdam Kill, the first picture in that initiative, shot some soundstage scenes in Hong Kong but otherwise filmed on location in Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands, London, England, and Hong Kong, according to production notes from AMPAS library files and an article in the 6 Oct 1976 Var.
       As reported by the 22 Nov 1976 Box, principal photography on The Amsterdam Kill began 6 Oct 1976 in Amsterdam and the movie had been completed by 16 Mar 1977, according to that day’s Var.
       Although an article in the 6 Oct 1976 Var reported the picture was budgeted at under $2 million, the 16 Mar 1977 Var stated that The Amsterdam Kill cost $2.5 million.
       The 23 Jan 1978 HR announced that Columbia Pictures acquired domestic distribution rights and would release the film in Apr 1978. The picture opened on 31 Mar 1978 in New York City, according to that day’s NYT review, and on 29 Sep 1978 in Los Angeles, CA, according to production notes.
       Reviews generally agreed that while The Amsterdam Kill was expertly produced, “from the technical aspect as well as the off-beat casting,” as stated in the 11 May 1977 Var, the film “still doesn’t work,” as described by the 31 Mar 1978 HR. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Nov 1976.
---
Box Office
20 Mar 1978.
---
Box Office
6 Feb 1978.
---
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1976.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1977
p. 3, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 1978
p. 3, 21.
New York Times
31 Mar 1978
p. 13.
People
22 Nov 1976.
---
Variety
6 Oct 1976
p. 28.
Variety
16 Mar 1977.
---
Variety
11 May 1977
p. 79, 95.
Variety
15 Mar 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Golden Harvest Presents
A Raymond Chow Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
Lighting chief
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Prop master
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Assisted by
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Post prod supv
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Prod secy
STAND INS
Stunt coord
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Kill Him in Amsterdam
Kill Them in Amsterdam
The Cold Wind Kills
Quinlan Must Die!
Release Date:
31 March 1978
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 31 March 1978
Los Angeles opening: 29 September 1978
Production Date:
6 October 1976--early 1977 in Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands
London, England
and Hong Kong
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision®
Lenses/Prints
Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Hong Kong, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24815
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The discovery of several dead heroin dealers in Hong Kong and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, catches the attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As Howard Odums and John Ridgeway of the DEA office in Hong Kong, and Riley Knight, head of the Amsterdam branch, agree to share information from their respective investigations, they speculate on the likelihood that a new crime syndicate is removing its competitors. Meanwhile, a London, England-based former narcotics agent, Larry Quinlan, flies to Amsterdam at the request of an aged heroin dealer named Chung Wei. Wei wants to get out of the drug business and asks Quinlan to make a deal with the DEA using information Wei has on other drug dealers. Although he knows Quinlan was fired from the agency when he stole money to fuel his own drug addiction, Wei trusts him. When Wei expresses fear for his life, Quinlan offers to have his friend, former police officer Jimmy Wong, safeguard him. Days later, Quinlan flies to Hong Kong and, without revealing the name of his source, presents Wei’s deal to Odums: the informant will give the DEA information on other dealers in exchange for money and a U.S. passport. Odums agrees, but insists they work with the local police force, headed by Inspector Paul Fon. Because of Quinlan’s history of drug addiction, Fon does not want Quinlan involved. Once Quinlan proves that he is no longer using drugs, Odums insists Quinlan join the operation and they proceed to act on Wei’s information. Based on Wei’s first tip, the team finds the drugs and successfully arrests the dealer. In the ... +


The discovery of several dead heroin dealers in Hong Kong and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, catches the attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As Howard Odums and John Ridgeway of the DEA office in Hong Kong, and Riley Knight, head of the Amsterdam branch, agree to share information from their respective investigations, they speculate on the likelihood that a new crime syndicate is removing its competitors. Meanwhile, a London, England-based former narcotics agent, Larry Quinlan, flies to Amsterdam at the request of an aged heroin dealer named Chung Wei. Wei wants to get out of the drug business and asks Quinlan to make a deal with the DEA using information Wei has on other drug dealers. Although he knows Quinlan was fired from the agency when he stole money to fuel his own drug addiction, Wei trusts him. When Wei expresses fear for his life, Quinlan offers to have his friend, former police officer Jimmy Wong, safeguard him. Days later, Quinlan flies to Hong Kong and, without revealing the name of his source, presents Wei’s deal to Odums: the informant will give the DEA information on other dealers in exchange for money and a U.S. passport. Odums agrees, but insists they work with the local police force, headed by Inspector Paul Fon. Because of Quinlan’s history of drug addiction, Fon does not want Quinlan involved. Once Quinlan proves that he is no longer using drugs, Odums insists Quinlan join the operation and they proceed to act on Wei’s information. Based on Wei’s first tip, the team finds the drugs and successfully arrests the dealer. In the second operation, they apprehend a judge suspected of carrying drugs from Hong Kong to Amsterdam, but the police and the DEA fail to find any drugs and the incident publicly embarrasses the agency. Quinlan, Odums and Ridgeway decide that Quinlan’s informant has no reason betray them and concur that a spy within their ranks prompted the judge to remove his contraband. The DEA agents decide to give Quinlan’s informant one more chance. Elsewhere, in Amsterdam, Jimmy accompanies Wei to a meeting with his associates, despite both of their concerns for Wei’s safety. Soon after they arrive, a masked gunman bursts in and kills nearly everyone, but Wei and Jimmy escape unharmed. Later, Quinlan tells Wei his next tip must lead to an arrest. If the operation is successful, Wei will get his money and new passport. Wei replies that if Quinlan’s team mismanages the next bust, he will terminate the arrangement. Wei directs Quinlan to an abandoned school where the former agent photographs a heroin-producing operation. Meanwhile, at the DEA office, Odums asks Riley to find the identity of Quinlan’s informant. Later, Odums and Ridgeway find Quinlan’s photographs a compelling reason to infiltrate the factory and agree to give Quinlan’s informant his asylum. When Quinlan insists that they proceed without the involvement of the local police, which will ensure the agency gets credit for burning the drugs, Odums and Ridgeway mention that confiscated heroin is no longer destroyed but rather legally sold to pharmaceutical companies for medical purposes. On the night of the operation, Quinlan attempts to survey the building and signal the agents whether to enter, but before he reaches the rendezvous, he is subdued with chloroform. Just before losing consciousness, Quinlan overhears one of his assailants mention “Juliana in Amsterdam.” With no word from Quinlan, Odums and Ridgeway proceed with the raid anyway but their agents are ambushed and killed. The next day, Quinlan wakes up on a fishing boat. Inspector Fon picks him up and explains what happened at the factory. In the DEA office, Ridgeway and Odums suggest that Quinlan leave Hong Kong since everyone blames him for what happened, but Quinlan later realizes he was spared because someone wants the name of his informant. He also recalls hearing the reference to Juliana. After contacting Jimmy, who reports that Wei ran away, Quinlan flies to Amsterdam and is unexpectedly picked up by Riley with news that the local DEA office is conducting an investigation into the name of Quinlan’s informant. At his hotel, Quinlan encounters Jimmy, who gives him a message from Wei asking to meet. On the way to the meeting that night, Quinlan is kidnapped by assailants who take him to a laboratory where technicians use psychological methods to extract the name of his informant. The next morning, Quinlan is dumped in front of Wei’s apartment. Soon afterwards, he receives a note from Wei guiding him to another nearby apartment. There, Quinlan and Jimmy dispatch an intruder and find Wei’s dead body. Before departing, they discover the book containing the information Wei was giving Quinlan. Perusing the book as Jimmy drives them away, Quinlan finds the name “Juliana” and references to a laboratory, a flower market in Aalsmeer and a Utrecht flower farm. Just then, unknown gunmen fire on the car, causing Jimmy to drive off the road and into a river, but Quinlan and Jimmy survive and rescue the book. Later, Quinlan contacts Odums and voices his suspicion that Riley is involved in the murders and the sabotaged operations. Odums informs Quinlan that Ridgeway is in Amsterdam looking for him. Quinlan and Jimmy go to the Aalsmeer flower market, locate the Juliana shipment and notice a German heroin dealer whom Quinlan recognizes bidding on the same shipment. The dealer’s henchman sees Quinlan and Jimmy and gives chase, but the two escape on a flower truck and review what they have learned: laboratories legally stockpile heroin, process and dilute it; the heroin is packed in a flower plant, then sold and distributed at the flower auction. When Quinlan decides they need to see the flower farm in Utrecht, they sneak onto the premises and observe packages of heroin being placed into flower shipments. Discovered and apprehended by armed workers, Quinlan and Jimmy are taken to Riley, who is waiting on the flower plantation. Riley explains how he came to partner with the flower farmer to run the heroin smuggling operation and informs Quinlan and Jimmy that he will have their bodies dropped in the North Sea. At that moment, Ridgeway and other agents appear and open fire. After Ridgeway kills Riley as he tries to escape, Quinlan takes the man’s briefcase. Later, Quinlan informs Odums about Riley and indicates that Riley’s papers also implicate Odums in the drug scheme. When Quinlan asks Odums to turn himself in, Odums shoots himself. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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