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Vienna, 1956. After Soviet tanks crush the Hungarian uprising, soldier-of-fortune Mike Reynolds is hired to help a threatened Hungarian scientist (Prof. Jansci) escape from Budapest. He and Julia, the professor's daughter, cross the boulder posing as journalists, but they encounter a problem. The staunch freedom fighter doesn't want to go! Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
The Secret Ways is one of the more obscure Richard Widmark films ever done. Oddly enough it was a family project with him producing it and his wife Jean Hazlewood writing the screenplay.
It's easy to base a film on an Alastair MacLean novel, but hard for director Phil Karlson to make a boring film, but that's what Widmark and Karlson succeeded in doing. The cinematography was so drab in Vienna and in Zurich Switzerland standing in for Budapest that I fell asleep. Color might have helped, but one of the best espionage stories ever done was also filmed in black and white in Vienna, that being The Third Man. That is certainly not boring.
Richard Widmark plays an American agent who is asked to do a job and get a Hungarian resistance leader in Walter Rilla out from behind the iron curtain. Rilla is reluctant to go and at first his daughter Sonia Ziemann is reluctant to cooperate.
For a MacLean novel it has a lot less plot twists than normal. You want to see MacLean done right for the big screen checkout Where Eagles Dare.
Dick Widmark never produced another film again, wonder why.
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