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During WW II, British commandos visit occupied Holland to keep a fortune in diamonds out of Nazi hands. Tense action follows as Anna, Jan and their colleagues play cat and mouse with the Dutch army, knowing that one of their number may be a traitor. Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
The film opens with the Nazi invasion of Holland on Friday 10th May 1940, Churchill's rise to British Prime Minister the following day, and then the launch of Operation Amsterdam itself on Sunday 12th May. See more »
When the British agents first arrive, German airplanes try to bomb them before they can reach the shore. A line of the special effects charges are clarly seen bobbing in the water before they detonate. See more »
The producers are most grateful for the valuable co-operation of the Royal Netherlands navy and the civic authorities of Amsterdam and Ymuiden. See more »
Sincere Movie Depicting the Fall of the Netherlands Okay, But Should Have Been Better
I wanted to like Operation Amsterdam, but for some reason I could never get absorbed into it the way you have to to enjoy a movie. It had a good cast, led by the excellent Peter Finch and the beautiful Eva Bartok. Alexander Knox was there, too. His presence is usually an asset, but in this one he was given little to do. I was hoping to see him as a Dutch fifth columnist baddie, since nasty was what he did best, but he played a bland little fellow with few lines. His character was in practically every scene but seemed to have no real function.
The World War II intrigue story showed much promise. Dutch diamond merchants (Finch and Knox) with a British special forces officer (Tony Britton) sneak into the Netherlands at the time Amsterdam is about to fall to invading German forces. Their purpose is to smuggle all of the diamonds they can back to England in order to keep these invaluable industrial items out of German hands. The two main hurdles to overcome will be convincing all of the Dutch diamond dealers to hand over their goods and to keep from being shot by one of the groups of "fifth columnists", Nazi sympathizers in regular Dutch army uniforms, who are roaming the streets. With loyal soldiers around, too, it is hard to tell friend from foe. The diamond commandos are aided by the beautiful Bartok driving her beautiful Mercedes automobile like a bat out of you-know-where and an underground resistance group, strangely well-organized and well-armed considering that the Nazis have not yet taken over their government.
The cinematography was good, though not outstanding. Being a sucker for the black & white widescreen movie, a format which was not popular for a very long period, is one of the reasons I bought the DVD of Operation Amsterdam. The wide screen is used very well, especially in panoramic shots of civilians fleeing down a dike road and in the street fighting scenes. There is lots of action with all of it well staged and some effective suspense.
So why did I not like this movie better. Flabby direction by Michael McCarthy and sloppy editing were two problems. Tony Britton was simply not up to the pivotal role of the tough British secret service officer. He just was not dynamic enough. It is a shame we couldn't have had Trevor Howard or Richard Harris, both of whom excelled at this type of role. Worst for me, was the jazzy score by Philip Green. Rather than enhancing the action and the suspense, it was irritating and inappropriate for the historical period.
Well, maybe it was just me. My grouchy old wife, who is usually more picky about movies than I am, liked it better than I did, and so did most others who have reviewed it and posted on the message board. It was sincere and historically authentic, typically good points of British movies from this era. It was over all pretty good, but should have been much better. With Trevor Howard and a Dimitri Tiomkin score -- who knows?
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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