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Dirk Bogarde tries to clear himself of murder in post-war Germany
Dirk Bogarde has a "Desperate Moment" or two in this 1953 film also starring Mai Zetterling. Bogarde plays Simon van Halder, a man serving a life sentence in postwar Europe for the murder of a British soldier. During the war, in a group with three other men, one of them, Paul (Wharf Watchman) told Simon that his girlfriend Anna (Mai Zetterling) had been murdered. In need of penicillin and in despair over Anna's death, Simon agrees to confess to the murder. The men steal penicillin for him.
Then, while convalescing in a prison hospital after an escape from a train gone awry, Simon gets a visit from Anna. He now know that Paul convinced him to confess by lying. He and Anna are desperate to get him a new trial, but the men with Simon need to be found. But Paul is still pulling the strings.
Filmed in Berlin, this isn't a very exciting film and drags. Bogarde had been very ill before the movie, and his studio, Rank, supplied him with weight-lifting equipment to buff up. Bogarde claimed in a health magazine that in order to look buff, he put on extra sweaters and pants and never used the equipment.
Bogarde is in his early thirties here and incredibly handsome. He and Zetterling had great chemistry, as they proved in a play they did together. They were so hot, audience members believed they were involved off-stage. They're both very good, but both Bogarde and Zetterling made many films well beneath their considerable abilities. Alas, this is one of them. Look for Theodore Bikel in a supporting role.
For Bogarde fans.
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