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Master Spy (1963)

 -  Drama  -  19 August 1964 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 54 users  
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Title: Master Spy (1963)

Master Spy (1963) on IMDb 5.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Stephen Murray ...
Boris Turganev
June Thorburn ...
Leila
Alan Wheatley ...
Paul Skelton
John Carson ...
Richard Colman
John Bown ...
John Baxter
Jack Watson ...
Capt. Foster
Ernest Clark ...
Dr. Pembury
Peter Gilmore ...
Tom Masters
Marne Maitland ...
Dr. Asafu
Ellen Pollock ...
Dr. Morrell
Hugh Morton ...
Sir Gilbert Saunders
Basil Dignam ...
Richard Horton
Victor Beaumont ...
Hamilton Dyce ...
Airport Controller
Michael Peake ...
Barnes (Skeltons Manservant)
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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

19 August 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

X 21 spionaggio atomico  »

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Last film of Stephen Murray. See more »

Quotes

Sir Gilbert Saunders: Professor, just why are you asking for asylum here?
Boris Turganev: My reasons are quite simple, Sir - I want to stay here and make England my home.
Sir Gilbert Saunders: That may be... but things aren't quite as easy as you seem to think. We can't take everybody just because they want to come. There's got to be some good reason. And so far, you haven't given one.
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User Reviews

 
Compelling British low budget feature film
10 February 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw this film yesterday morning. I like British low budget, (usually) black and white films from the 1950s and 1960s so I made the effort to ensure that I was available to watch it. Not only was I not disappointed; it turned out to be one of the best of its type.

The plot was very full, with plenty of twists and turns. I will not say what these are, but suffice it to say that they make for a very satisfying concept when one reflects on the film.

The conceptual basis for the story is interesting. It shows how two elements of life in the 1960s had come to the fore. One is the concept of spying and the other is the prominence of science and scientific research. "The white heat of the technological revolution", in Harold Wilson's phrase from that year's General Election campaign. One may conclude that the film was up to date in that sense. (The film "Ring Of Spies", made in the previous year, dealt with these themes from a different aspect.)

A few points arise from the milieu and setting. One is that, in contrast to what was to become a common suggestion/complaint a few years later, there is no sense that it is unusual to have women in senior positions in the research team; indeed, quite the contrary. The other is that several of the characters are shown smoking, regularly. Should there ever be a film suggested that would deal with this subject and this period, the makers will need to bite this particular bullet in the interests of accuracy.

An incidental fact, but one which identifies the film as very much of its period, is the style of spectacles worn by both June Thorburn and the senior civil servant's secretary. This "fashion" style, with prominent rims, belongs almost exclusively to the early and mid-1960s.

Turning to the cast, there is a good collection of British "second rank" character actors. I particularly noted Peter Gilmore's portrayal and of course Stephen Murray, who was completely unrecognisable from the (voice of the) Commander in the long-running radio series "The Navy Lark".

There is also the, to my mind, most attractive player in the film, the charming (and ultimately tragic) figure of June Thorburn. I am always pleased to see her name in the cast list of films made during the decade which began in the first half of the 1950s. That this film was in fact her final one, despite her death not occurring for another three years, shows that her time as a leading actress was over. This, I am sure, will have to been due to a combination of personal reasons and the change in the British film industry, which saw the decline and largely the end of the lower budget films from the mid-1960s onwards.

Had things continued, I am sure that she would still have been cast, as she always makes her mark, playing leading roles in films that do not have an obvious appeal to female members of the audience and making her mark in them. "Fury At Smuggler's Bay" (1961) and her penultimate film, 1963's "The Scarlet Blade", are the films which I have most in mind here.

All told, then, this is a film which has much to recommend it. If you like this type of film, it will be worth making the effort to see it, should it be shown again.


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