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John Paddy Carstairs
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Dream Of Yesterday
Written by Ronald Briggs See more »
Jeffrey Hunter deals with a German agent as he and Nigel Patrick are tricking the Germans into thinking the Allied attack will be in Holland
This picture is a favorite of mine, and I watched it recently for the third or fourth time. I only wish that I had a cinemascope version.
It's a tense spy picture that has some exceptionally good twists in it. The bare outline is that Jeffrey Hunter has joined Nigel Patrick in a British cover operation whose goal is to fool the Nazis into thinking that the Allied invasion will come through Holland, not Normandy or the French coast. This idea it shares with "The Man Who Never Was", another excellent thriller with Stephen Boyd and Clifton Webb done only one year earlier. A pretty Holland girl joins the group, played by Annemarie Duringer, only she's a Nazi plant and she's very clever. Hunter, who is the security agent, is clever too but he falls for her. Patrick adds a great deal to every movie I've ever seen him in. He's one of a reliable cohort of fine British actors. Here, he maintains the detachment of the intelligence man in charge and his cold-bloodedness. It balances Hunter, and yet Hunter intuitively knows that he as security agent he cannot let the Germans find out too easily what they are up to, or else they will know that the attack won't be on Holland. Annemarie has her superiors in London, and she has her own problems trying to convey to them what she thinks she has discovered.
All of this and more is developed smoothly, realistically and intelligently, which good spy stories demand. The script has a good combination of exposition and action. The supporting roles are developed with feeling. The cinematography is appropriately noir. The direction brought out what the actors were feeling and thinking very nicely in the closeups. He's Victor Vicas, born in Russia, who worked in Europe. I haven't seen his other work. This is certainly a superior effort.
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