House of Cards (1968 film)

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House of Cards
House of Cards FilmPoster.jpeg
Poster for House of Cards (1969)
Directed by John Guillermin
Screenplay by Irving Ravetch
(as James P. Bonner)
Harriet Frank, Jr.
(as James P. Bonner)
Based onnovel by Stanley Ellin
Produced byRichard Berg
(as Dick Berg)
Starring George Peppard
Inger Stevens
Orson Welles
Cinematography Piero Portalupi
Edited by J. Terry Williams
Music by Francis Lai
Color process Technicolor
Westward Films
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • 18 November 1968 (1968-11-18)(UK)
  • September 14, 1969 (1969-09-14)(US)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States

House of Cards is a 1968 American neo-noir crime film directed by John Guillermin and starring George Peppard, Inger Stevens, and Orson Welles. Filmed in France and Italy, it marked the third time that Peppard and Guillermin worked together (they had previously collaborated on the 1966 film The Blue Max , then P.J. ). [1]


The film was first released in the United Kingdom in November 1968, but was not released in the United States until the following September. [2]


Reno Davis is an American writer who has recently retired from boxing. Now unemployed and broke in France, he encounters the wealthy widow of a French general. Anne de Villemont is attracted to Reno, and he to her, but she keeps him at arm's length. She also hires him to tutor her eight-year-old son Paul. The real reason she wants Reno is for protection.

Reno is led to believe that Anne's husband was killed in the Algerian conflict, and he is troubled by Anne's intense fear that Paul will be kidnapped. He then discovers the family has ties to a fascist organization that plans to take over all of Europe. He takes on the shady psychiatrist Morillon and mysterious family friend Leschenhaut, both of whom frighten Anne whenever they are around.

Reno is framed for his best friend's murder as he and Anne become the targets of the ambitious and maniacal schemers who wish to rule Europe. Reno and Anne are hunted around France while protecting Paul from being abducted. The chase ends at the Colosseum in Rome, where Reno and the villains engage in a showdown.



The film was based on a novel by Stanley Ellin. In May 1966, before the novel had been published, Universal announced that it would produce a film adaptation. [3] [4] By October 1966, the film had Dick Berg as producer and Irving and Harriet Ravetch as writers. [5] The novel was issued in 1967. The Los Angeles Times called it "superb." [6]

George Peppard was cast in July 1967. [7] Eva Renzi's casting was announced in August. [8] That same month, John Guillermin signed on to direct what would be his third film with Peppard. [9]


Filming started in August 1967 in Paris. Shortly into filming, Renzi withdrew for personal reasons and was replaced by Inger Stevens. [10] In September, the unit moved to Rome. [11] [12]

During filming, Peppard joked that the film should be called The Running Jumping and Never Standing Still Film. [13]


The Los Angeles Times called House of Cards "a mildly diverting so-so adventure movie that could have been so much better." [14]

Home media

This film has never been released in North America on VHS or DVD, though it has been released on DVD in France (Bach Films, 2007), [15] Germany (Mondo Entertainment, 2009) [16] and Italy (Sinister Film, 2013). [17]

See also

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  1. Vagg, Stephen (17 November 2020). "John Guillermin: Action Man". Filmink.
  2. HOUSE OF CARDS Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 35, Iss. 408, (Jan 1, 1968): 201.
  3. Darrid Named by M.C.A. To Head Literary Division New York Times 5 May 1966: 55.
  4. Virna Lisi Gets 'Hour' Role Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 9 May 1966: c21.
  5. MOVIE CALL SHEET: 7 Films on Continental Slate Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 13 Oct 1966: C17.
  6. Three Novels That Welcome a Rainy Day Kirsch, Robert. Los Angeles Times 19 Feb 1967: p30
  7. In the 'Cards' for Peppard Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 21 July 1967: d12.
  8. James Fox to Play Churchill Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 9 Aug 1967: e12.
  9. Film Contract for Reynolds Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 7 Aug 1967: d28.
  10. Saxon to Star in 'Singles' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 30 Aug 1967: d15.
  11. 'Isadora' Shooting Under Way Los Angeles Times 7 Sep 1967: d20.
  12. A First-Hand Report on a Rome Movie Set's Bare Facts Kanin, Fay. Los Angeles Times 3 Dec 1967: d1.
  13. Movies: Harbinger of Neo-Hitchcockian Melodrama LaBADIE, DON. Los Angeles Times 29 Oct 1967: d12.
  14. 'House of Cards' in Citywide Engagement Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 19 Mar 1969: g19.