Touch and Die (1992) R · 3h · Thriller · 27 August 1992
Frank Magenta works as a journalist in Rome for a big American newspaper. Assigned to gather information on the background of Scanzano, the presidential candidate of Italian origin, he quickly finds out that this politician is a man of unquestion-able integrity. There are no scandals or affairs which can endanger his candidacy. Frank decides to give up his investi-gations, much to the delight of his 18-year-old daughter; Emma believes that her father will have more time for her. Together with the young journalist Carlo, Frank accidentally comes across two puzzling murders. He discovers that both victims had worked as scientists in nuclear power plants from which considerable amounts of highly dangerous enriched plutonium have disappeared. When a third body is found in Rome, however, Frank decides to get to the bottom of things. He therefore pays a visit to one of the dead black sailor's colleagues, who is in hospital in the intensive care unit. But Frank is obviously not the only one who takes an interest in the case. He has just found out that the sailor is dying because he was exposed to an overdose of radioactivity when he witnesses an attempt to kill the man. In the ensuing gunfight, a policeman is shot. Now Roman superintendent Morelli takes charge of the case. Morelli, however, is the one Frank has seen in hospital... Frank is arrested on suspicion of murder. He confides in super-intendent Aquani, who also has his doubts about Morelli. He warns Frank not to interfere with his investigations. But it would take more than a warning to stop Frank, once he has sensed a scoop. The trail leads Frank to a small port where he finds a rusty, inconspicuous freighter loaded with the stolen plutonium. Frank tries to convince Aquani that he has stumbled on a gang of plutonium smugglers. But before the Italian authorities have a chance to stop the freighter, it is already in international waters heading for a small African country - at least that is what Frank has found out. Frank asks Carlo to find out about the owner of the ship and flies to Africa. In the meantime the freighter loaded with the highly dangerous cargo has docked. Together with Limey, an old friend who has been living in Africa for a long time, Frank observes how the deadly cargo is unloaded from the freighter and put onto a truck. Frank drives the truck to a safe hideaway. In the meantime, Carlo has found out that the ship is owned by a Swiss arms dealer called Steuben, who also works with terrorist organizations. In Africa Frank meets an attractive woman. Catherine turns out to be a scientist contracted for Euratom in Brussels. But she does not believe Frank's story; she takes it for journalistic speculation inspired by the wish for a sensational scoop. Two things arouse her suspicion, too. Steuben has flown to Africa in the meantime. On a beach in Lutresh he holds a kind of auction. The Participants: representatives of many different countries. But what is he trying to sell, the plutonium? Frank's hands are the ultimate proof. While having a closer look at the freighter's cargo, Frank's hands were slightly con-taminated. Frank flies back to Rome to track down Steuben, only to walk into a trap. He is charged with rape. Superintendent Aquani has not been idle in the meantime. He can now prove that Morelli is indeed involved in the plutonium smuggling. By arresting Frank he wanted to prevent the journalist from uncovering more and more details. The girl Frank is said to have raped cannot identify him. She turns out to be one of Morelli's marionettes. Aquani is now able to arrest his corrupt colleague. Frank visits Steuben in Paris and tells him that he has found out about his wheelings and dealings. Steuben commits suicide. In his office, Frank discovers a suitcase stuffed with 500,000 dollars and a ticket to New York. He flies to New York, pretends to be Steuben's agent and hands over the suitcase. Never leaving the case out of sight, he observes how the money is delivered to the campaign headquarters of the presidential candidate Scanzano. Frank joins Catherine, who has come to New York in order to report their discoveries to the nuclear lobby of the UN. But before Frank can warn Catherine about the killers of the plutonium mafia, she is murdered. The UNC henchmen don't even shrink from assaulting Frank's family. But Carlo, who has followed Frank to New York, courageously steps in. Suzann and Emma survive the murder attempt. After Frank gets his family into safety, he manages to meet with Scanzano and realizes that the politician is an honorable man who is completely oblivious to the way his campaign is being financed. Scanzano, however, has no choice but to resign. Frank's daughter Emma now hopes that her father will have more time for his family. But Frank already has another explosive story for somewhere in Africa there is an abandoned truck with a dangerous load. - Written by Anonymous
Director(s): Piernico Solinas Cast: Martin Sheen, Véronique Jannot, Jacques Perrin
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