non-Edgar-Wallace German "krimi" with stunning Hildegard Knef
Although this 1964 German "krimi" b&w crime film has the look and feel of one of the Edgar Wallace based films (although it doesn't have as many outrageous plot contrivances!), it's actually based on a novel by the great crime novelist James Hadley Chase and features the stunning Hildegard Knef in the lead role, along with Gotz George, a name familiar to any fan of 60s German films. Knef, first seen in the film as a platinum blonde with a hairdo that retro girls would kill for, brings an air of icy yet seductive intrigue to the film, and it's a shame she did not make more of these. The plot, about a gang of blackmailers led by a crippled mastermind who is motivated by misanthropy, moves quickly and director Alfred Vohrer, an old hand at creating a bleak, mysterious atmosphere in his crime films, has created a gem of a krimi film with MARK OF THE TORTOISE. It has all the good qualities of the Edgar Wallace series, yet is quite different and a change of pace...largely due to the presence of the great Hildegard Knef.
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