A somewhat over-plotted spy thriller by the French master of suspense Henri-Georges Clouzot, that features spies from different countries converging on a psychiatric clinic, run by doctor Malik (Gerard Sety), who is offered a substantial sum of money to shelter a new patient that happens to be an atomic scientist. Soon, the hospital beds are filled with international spies all desperate after the information the patient holds.
Just about everything in this espionage tale is open to question, with its wildly imaginative insinuations of nuclear devices, Amerian and Soviet secret agents and crackpot taxi drivers, doctors and patients. This film certainly has its moments, but is a little uneven and anyone familiar with Clouzot's work, knows this one is not strictly for laughs. It's all meticulously scripted, but is just a taut long (137 minutes) and soon becomes such an impenetrable puzzle, it's hard to keep track of the proceedings, but the film benefits from a good international cast, including Peter Ustinov (SPARTACUS, TOPKAPI, DEATH ON THE NILE), Curd Jürgens (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, THE LONGEST DAY), Sam Jaffe (BEN HUR) and Vera Clouzot (LES DIABOLIQUES).
Not without interest, but ultimately, the elements just don't glue together that well, with rather unsatisfactory results.
Camera Obscura --- 6/10
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