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The Crooked Road (1965)

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Richard Ashley
...
Duke of Orgagna
...
Cosima
...
Elena
...
Harlequin
...
Carlo
Robert Rietty ...
Police Chief
Milan Micic
Demeter Bitenc
Murray Kash
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International intrigue races sex and adventure... as a desperate American and a ruthless dictator clash over a secret - and a woman - too dangerous to keep! See more »

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Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

19 February 1967 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Einmal wird abgerechnet  »

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Some small part actors are dubbed by Robert Rietty. See more »

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Referenced in American Pickers: Fill'er Up (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stewart Granger plays cat and mouse with Robert Ryan
28 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Crooked Road" is quite a good noir of its type from the later or post-era that starts around 1958-1960. It was filmed in black and white in Yugoslavia and in places shows some very nice scenery to good advantage. The cast is first-rate. Robert Ryan is a staunchly moralistic American investigative reporter who hopes to publish an expose of the Duke of Orgagna (a fictional principality), played by Stewart Granger. Granger's wife is Nadia Gray, a former lover of Ryan. Gray has a heavy accent, not always decipherable. Granger rules a peasant land. In his household is a peasant steward played by George Coulouris, whose daughter, Katherine Woodville, has been Granger's mistress for several years. Gray knows this but Coulouris does not. Woodville's step-brother has some essential photocopies of Granger's personal letters to deliver to Ryan before he can publish the story.

As in many noir films, there is just enough violent and/or criminal action to draw one into the story which then focuses heavily on the machinations and conflicts of the characters. A bout of further violence often comes in the latter part of the picture as it does here. The violence is well-motivated in this case, not gratuitous.

Granger knows everything going on in his fiefdom and he pulls all the strings. He's an experienced and master politician who knows how to frame, snare, control and manipulate. He plans and plots to frustrate Ryan's publication hopes. He is debonair but ruthless. He provides a complete aristocratic and paternalistic philosophy to rationalize what he does, in contrast to the naive American moralizing of Ryan whom he treats as an inferior lacking in understanding of his position, people and land. Crusading New World meets corrupt and devious Old World. Ryan has never stopped loving Gray, and she still wants him as well.

Marius Goring puts in an appearance as a British agent intent on stopping Ryan from publishing as this will negatively affect British interests.

Ryan at first seems ahead of the game, but he's no match for Granger on his home turf. The charming Granger ties Ryan up in knots, in order to get the photostats that Ryan needs. This includes framing Ryan and then taking custody of him on a well-guarded island from which Ryan cannot escape.

Ryan is sure of Gray before becoming unsure, partly because she doesn't fully support his drive to publish and ruin Granger even if she wants to leave him, being fed up with his love affairs. Is she a femme fatale or is she a wife in distress?

The story and direction from the British Don Chaffey are European, not American in nature. There is a kind of engulfing of the protagonist by the surrounding forces and deviousness of Granger. Clearcut heroic actions are not evident, although Ryan attempts to ward off the dangers by being honest and sticking to his objective. Correspondingly, the story becomes talky and seems to be running into blind alleys. Ryan is something like Joseph Cotten facing Orson Welles in "The Third Man". A haze of ambiguity descends over Ryan's quest as he meets with frustration. His defeat looms ahead of him and it is far from clear if he will ever publish the story.


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