In Rome, a burglar drops down from the roof of an apartment and jimmies the window open. He goes to the bar, pours himself a drink, and then removes the bottles to remove the hidden safe. The burglar takes a gun and a drill out of his bag and drills open the safe. The lights come on as the owner comes in, and the burglar shoots him dead with his silenced gun. He then calmly goes back to work.
Later, McGill is shaving in his hotel room when there’s a knock at his door. The man calls through the door, saying that his name is Mori, and McGill lets his friend in. Mori reminds McGill how he helped him in ’57 recover some important documents, and points out a newspaper article about the stolen Rassani Necklace and the murder of its owner. The Italian says that he knows who the killer is and can find the necklace. McGill isn’t interested until Mori points out that the necklace is insured for $300,000. If McGill recovers it then he gets a 10% finder’s fee and split it with Mori.
McGill meets with the insurance executive. He warns McGill that they won’t participate in anything illegal. The local commandante arrives and McGill explains that his contact will disappear if the police involve themselves. The Commandante warns that McGill is protecting a material witness and could be considered a suspect. When he starts to leave, the Commandante takes his passport and agrees to the deal.
The thief , Giulio, is in the bedroom of his English girlfriend Angela. She models the necklace and Giulio kisses her as he removes it .
McGill tells Mori to meet the thief and give him the money, and then he’ll move in and take the jewels. Mori that his half of the 10% will go to his granddaughter, and reluctantly gives up Giulio’s name so that McGill can convince the thief he’s been tracking him down.
Later, Mori meets Giulio in a cemetery. They exchange the money for the necklace, and McGill orders Giulio to surrender. The thief runs into the nearby catacombs and by the time McGill arrives, Giulio has disappeared into the maze.
In the cemetery, Mori examines the necklace and leaves.
McGill realizes that it’s hopeless and returns to the surface. He reports to Commandante that he lost the killer and the necklace, and still refuses to give up Mori’s name. The Commandante points out that Giulio will kill Mori if they can’t find him, and McGill gives him Mori’s name. He asks for his passport back, but the Commandante says that he is under suspicion and the whole thing is a set-up.
That night, McGill returns to his hotel and the receptionist says that a man has called McGill several times and will call again. A woman, Francesca, listens to the exchange and watches as McGill pays the receptionist and goes to the bar. Noticing Francesca, McGill goes over and stares at her. She invites him to sit down and McGill points out that she has two glasses. Francesca assures him that they are both hers, and explains that she’s an actress. They flirt back and forth, and Francesca suggests that he invite her to dinner. McGill warns that he can’t leave the hotel, and Francesca agrees to have dinner with him there.
Mori runs through the streets with Giulio and a hired thug chasing him.
McGill and Francesca have dinner in his room, and he finally asks who sent her. She claims that no one sent her but McGill doesn’t believe her. Mori calls and McGill irritably shoves her out into the hallway. The informant says that he’s hiding in a cousin’s storage room, and he can’t get out. McGill asks where the necklace is, and Mori asks him to give his share to his granddaughter. He then mutters the word “senora” just as Giulio finds and kills him.
Later, the police find Mori’s body and the Commandante has McGill brought to the crime scene. The Commandante points out that they still don’t have the jewels, and then dismisses his men. McGill blames himself for Mori’s death, and says that he doesn’t know what senora Mori was referring too. The Commandante warns that Giulio won’t believe McGill is clueless, and offers to get him out of Italy if he cooperates. Disgusted, McGill returns to his hotel.
At his room, McGill checks the sight-lines from his window.
At Angela’s apartment, Giulio checks his gun and prepares to gout. Angela begs him to stay, and the thief makes it clear that he’s leaving for good. As he goes, Angela says that she hopes McGill kills him.
McGill cautiously goes down to the lobby and spots the Commandante’s man Giuseppe watching him. He goes to the bar and Francesca joins him. She complains that he threw her out, and McGill apologizes. Francesca accepts his apology and one last drink, and they sit down at a table. She figures that he’s after something other than her, and recognized the names Giulio and Mori from the morning newspapers. The actress figures that McGill believes that she came from the police or the killer, and says that she can tell that he cares. Francesca assures McGill that she’s just who she claims to be, and she feels sorry for him because he’s missing the chance. McGill gets up and Francesca offers to wait for him. He says that he has to see the person alone and pays the receptionist to keep quiet and immediately send any calls his way.
Later, McGill dozes off on his bed and jerks awake. Giulio calls and says that it’s time to talk. He advises McGill to give him the necklace in return for a million lyra and his life. McGill refuses and points out that the police will soon arrest him, and dares Giulio to come get him.
Hours later, McGill waits, someone tries the door. It’s the Commandante, who explains that they have checked all of Mori’s female relatives. None of them have the necklace, and the Commandante offers 5% of the reward and his passport if McGill gives him the necklace. McGill would rather have his shot at Giulio and figures the Commandante won’t track the thief down. He promises to get Giulio and then the necklace, and the Commandante figures Giulio will get into the room. The official gives McGill his passport and tells him to leave, but McGill refuses it.
After the Commandante leaves, Giulio sneaks into the hotel through the back way. A few minutes later, there’s a knock at McGill’s door. It’s Francesca and he pulls her in. She says that he knows who she really is and kisses him. McGill kisses her back and then Francesca insists that he has to leave. He admits that he wants to trust her, but figures that she’s working with Giulio. If she’s not then it’s even more important that she go. Francesca wishes him a long but lonely life and goes back to her room... unaware that Giulio is watching her.
Giulio calls McGill and says that he’s in the hotel... in Francesca’s room. He promises to kill her unless McGill comes, unarmed, in two minutes. Francesca gives her name over the phone and Giulio hangs up. McGill has no choice but to go to Francesca’s room. Giulio uses Francesca as a shield and makes sure that McGill is unarmed. McGill says that he doesn’t know where the jewels are, and admits that he thought Francesca was with Giulio. Giulio dismisses her as nothing, and figures that McGill doesn’t have the necklace. There are a group of senoras at the cemetery, and neither one of them went there because they figured the other would be waiting. Now they can go together. Giulio insists that Francesca go with them as insurance.
The trio takes the elevator down to the basement, and Giuseppe secretly follows them. Once they’re out of the building, he runs upstairs.
At the cemetery, Giulio figures that Mori left the necklace with one of the senora statues. He invites McGill to choose one, and McGill points one out. Giulio tells Francesca to check it out, and she explains that Giulio is her brother. She removes the necklace from the statue’s urn, and McGill shoves her into Giulio and ducks into the catacombs. He ambushes Giulio and the two men fight. The Commandante and his men arrive and pull McGill away as he beats Giulio senseless.Outside, the police take Francesca away. McGill hands the Commandante the necklace, gets his passport, insists on his 5%... and makes the Commandante promise to give Mori’s granddaughter the other 5%. The Commandante admits that he is glad to settle for Giulio and the necklace, They could have grabbed Giulio in the hotel basement, but they also weren’t sure whose side Francesca was on. McGill says that it’ll be a long time before he trusts anyone again and walks off.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 24, 2015