solid entry in "Jerry Cotton" german-crime series, w/ George Nader
My English-language print of this film is called BODY IN CENTRAL PARK. This comes midway in the German "Jerry Cotton" crime series, starring George Nader, and it delivers the action and style one expects from the series. The plot revolves around rich businessman being blackmailed and threatened with the murder of their children. For a German crime film, the plot is relatively easy to follow, and the film is not as stylized as the earlier B&W entries in the series nor as convoluted as some of the later ones. While the Cotton series is often compared with James Bond, I really don't see much similarity, besides the fact that both men are government agents. The series (especially the early entries) seems more like an attempt to extend the early 60s German Edgar Wallace mysteries into imitation-American hard-boiled crime films. Eddie Constantine's "Lemmy Caution" crime films, which pre-date Dr. No and James Bond, seem much more Bond-like than Jerry Cotton, who could have been the hero of a 1950s US crime series, except for the 1960s modern settings of the films. Peter Thomas' musical score is relatively understated (for him, at least!) here, and Nader is as convincing as ever as the tough, stylish FBI man Cotton. If you have already seen some of this series, you'll want to see this one, although it's not the best. If you are not familiar with the series, any of the earlier ones--including this one--would be a good introduction to one of the best series of crime films of the 1960s. I'm hoping English language versions of these will eventually find their way onto DVD--perhaps in double bills! While Mr. Nader is no longer with us, perhaps some of the German cast/crew can do commentary tracks.
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