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. TWO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE ON THE LIFE OF THE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMIS- SIONER IN LONDON, AND TWICE ROD TAYLOR HAS COME TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S RESCUE IN THE NICK OF TIME.
But he received no award for bravery in the Queen's Honors list, rt was all in the line of duty for the film star from Sydney.
Rod heads the cast as Australian detective Scobie Malone in the film version of Jon deary's best-selling political thriller "The High Commis- sioner" (which we serialised 18 months ago), lt will be released in Sydney and Melbourne next month.
Set amid the intrigue of a world trade conference, the film tells how Malone is sent to London to arrest the High Commissioner, played by Canadian-born Christopher Plummer. The charge is the murder of his first wife 25 years previously.
Malone hopes to return to Sydney with his prisoner immediately and with the minimum of fuss, but this proves a hopeless task. The High Commis- sioner is the key man at the confer
once, which would break down without him.
He is also the target for an Eastern racketeer, who will go to any lengths to wreck the vital trade talks.
The detective plays bodyguard to the High Commissioner and meets the three women in his life: his beautiful and adoring wife, played by Lilli Palmer; his lovely young personal secretary (Camilla Sparv), and the exotic Daliah Lavi, whose apparent friendship turns out to be a double edged sword.
For Taylor this part means he is talking Strine on film again, the first opportunity he has had to play an Aus- tralian since he made "The V.I.P.s" four years ago. "I've played so many fake Americans I was beginning to feel like one," he said, relaxing in the back of his Rolls-Royce.
In this matter of accent he had the help of fellow Australians Leo McKern, Ken Wayne, Charles Tingwell, and Vincent Ball, who appear early in the film. Rod's voice is definitely still Aus- tralian - and his laugh as rich as the
western nickel mines.
Producer Betty E. Box and director Ralph Thomas went into partnership for the 27th time to make the film for the Rank Organisation.
DAUAH LAVI, the young Israeli star (at right), plays the seductive intriguer who sabotages a world trade con- ference. She has a passionate encounter with the detective
from Australia (Rod Taylor).
LEFT: Camilla Sparv, the beautiful 24-year-old Swede, as the High Com- missioner's private secretary. She attempts to protect her boss, falls in love with the cop.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, as the High Commissioner, tries to re- assure his wife (Lilli Palmer).
LEO McKERN, the distinguished Australian actor (centre), as the rough-voiced Premier of New South Wales, ordering the London arrest. At left, Russell Napier as a police inspector.
BEATEN UP in the street, the detective manages to break a store window to set off an alarm.
AUTHOR JON CLEARY, centre, with Taylor and Plummer. Cleary, at 50, is on the crest of a wave, having sold the film rights to his last four books and bought his first Bentley.
ROD TAYLOR, as the detective sent to London to arrest the High Commissioner. He rewrote some of his lines atter com- plaining that his role was "a script-writer's idea of an Austra- lian who drinks a lot and doesn't even know how to tie a tie."