Ernest Borgnine, now almost 90 years of age and still acting for Hollywood, went in 1960 to Berlin to play the main character called Boris Mitrov in an east - west drama of director André de Thoth called Man On The String. He is the man on the (black and white) run for cover through east Berlin before the great Wall was built and Kennedy named himself a Berliner. Borgnine has learned in Moscow the names of American spies in the states; he memorizes them and is picked up by a friendly helper next to the American sector and is taken in a nice Mercedes sedan car back to Uncle Sams sector where he spills the beans. Not much later Billy Wilder went to Berlin as well an made a great comedy about Coca Cola and the rest of the world. De Thoth picture isn't funny at all and actually the time before and after the making of the big Wall was not to laugh at. So director de Thoth decided to play the semi documentary card and one must say he succeeded in giving an impression of the area around the Brandenburg Gate and the nowhere land that is today called again Pariser Platz. So the artwork he took straight from the streets and ruins of cause of the western sectors. 15 years after the war quite some parts of West Berlin still looked pretty far from nowadays and were well to use as action areas suggesting the Hollywood staff had permission to film beyond the American sector right in the middle of East Berlin.
Borgnine is an unusual type of spy and he decorates the scenes in the Moscow offices of the soviet secret service fairly well. Of cause he is not Paul Newman who is also a spy memorizing a secret formula in the Torn Curtain of Mr. Hitchcock a little later but not a bad alternative.
The area next to the reborn American embassy and also not far from the Russian embassy was in the meantime nicely swept and one would need skilled optical and digital works to bring back an image of the invisible iron curtain of 1960. Spy games of the old fashion type are presently not fashionable, spy games star no more Borgnine but Redford and Pitt and are placed in the near east in colour and scope. I am beginning to like Borgnine in his black suit tumbling over the ruins of Berlin and showing his life long gap between teeth.
7 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?