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Exciting cold war thriller
on 12 May 2011
A diplomatic courier (Tyrone Power) for the State Department is set to receive an important package from a colleague and old friend (James Millican) in Austria but the contact pretends to not recognize him and is later murdered and the package missing. Veteran director Henry Hathaway (TRUE GRIT)is behind the camera for this intriguing espionage cold war thriller. Shot in B&W by Lucien Ballard (THE WILD BUNCH), the film doesn't take full advantage of the colorful Austrian and Italian locations which would have benefited from a Technicolor perspective. It would have been different if the B&W photography contributed a noir-ish post WWII atmosphere like Reed's THE THIRD MAN but it's not that kind of picture. The film profits by having two femme fatales, a globe trotting widow (Patricia Neal) who Power meets on an airplane and a Czech spy (Hildegard Knef) who Power meets on a train. Hathaway keeps the movie whizzing along to its conclusion with very little lagging. The large cast includes Karl Malden, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Stephen McNally, Herbert Berghof, Helene Stanley and Michael Ansara. An enjoyable, if minor, entry into the cold war movie canon.
The Fox DVD from Spain is a nice B&W transfer in its appropriate 1.33 aspect ration. Spanish subtitles are easily removed.