6.5/10
194
8 user 4 critic

Man on a String (1960)

A US secret agent is sent to Berlin to pretend to be a spy for the USSR.

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(book), (book) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Boris Mitrov
...
Bob Avery
...
Helen Benson
...
Col. Vadja Kubelov
...
Frank Sanford
Hanna Hertelendy ...
Bess Harris (as Hanna Landy)
...
Papa of Boris Mitrov
Friedrich Joloff ...
Gen. Nikolai Chapayev
Richard Kendrick ...
Inspector Jenkins
...
Adrian Benson
Holger Hagen ...
Hans Grünwald
Bob Iller ...
Hartmann (as Robert Iller)
Reinhold Pasch ...
Otto Bergman
Carl Jaffe ...
People's Judge
Eva Pflug ...
Tanja Rosnova
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Storyline

After 1919, Russian Boris Mitrov immigrates to the USA where he becomes an American citizen.Over the decades he builds a career in the film industry. In 1959, Mitrov is a movie producer with many rich influential friends. He continues to cultivate other Russian émigrés like himself and even some members of the Soviet Embassy in Washington.One of his Soviet friends is Embassy official Vladimir "Vadja" Kubelov.In reality, Kubelov is a KGB colonel who finds Mitrov useful to the Soviet cause by providing certain services.For instance, Mitrov provides reference letters of employment for various Soviet sleeper agents in the USA. Mitrov throws parties for Soviet diplomats, spies and American Communists such as millionaire bankers Adrian and Helen Benson. All these activities catch the attention of American intelligence agency CBI which places Mitrov and his entourage under close surveillance. When the CBI confronts Mitrov about his activities, he admits it but claims naiveté.Eager to loyally... Written by nufs68

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The biggest top-secret spy story of our time! See more »


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Details

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Release Date:

25 March 1960 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Spy and Counterspy  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The off-screen film narration belongs to well-known newsman Clete Roberts. Onscreen credits list Pierre Poincarde as director of photography, Moscow, Russia. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ernie Doublecrosses The Reds
19 May 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Based on the real life story of Boris Morros who was a musician instead of a film producer, Man on a String comes at the tale end of the Cold War espionage thrillers where there was absolutely no doubt as to who the good guys and bad guys were on the screen.

I can understand the reason for renaming the lead character that Ernest Borgnine plays Boris Mitrov and changing his occupation even, for dramatic purposes to give the character more scope. But for the life of me was anyone fooled when the agency he worked for was renamed the Central Bureau of Intelligence?

Borris Morros has his own page on IMDb and you can see the rather astonishing list of film credits he had, working on the scoring of a whole lot of films, some of them classics like Stagecoach. His own life gives a lie to the notion that there were no Communists in Hollywood. The blunderbuss approach taken by the House Un-American Activities Committee is another issue altogether.

The Mitrov character we see here isn't exactly stealing the atomic secrets, in fact he's not really doing any spying at all so to speak. As the Russian agent says, all they're doing with him is buying his good name to gain entrée into other places.

Our own CIA knows that and turns him into a double agent where he does perform useful work in identifying Soviet agents here. In real life it wasn't quite as dramatic as shown in Man on a String.

One thing that is of interest is that Man on a String, made as it was in 1960 in the wake of Nikita Khruschev's boast about how he would bury America. That is their attitude, that victory for them was inevitable because Marx said that's how history was flowing. It's interesting to watch this film now in the light of the fall of the Soviet Union. And it fell because it's economy couldn't keep spending militarily and provide its citizens with basic necessities.

Man on a String is a Cold War relic, but interesting viewing nonetheless.


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