Experienced British spy must retrieve a defecting Soviet scientist from Turkey. When a pretty female innocent bystander gets kidnapped by mistake by his enemies, he feels responsible and decides to help her as well.
New York tourist Tony Curtis falls asleep on a Southern California beach on his first night in the West and wakes up to The New Phantasmagoria--catamarans, surfers (including a dog), ... See full summary »
Four marathon runners (one from England, one from the U.S., a Czech and an Australian Aborigine) prepare to run in the Olympic games. The film follows each one and shows what their motivations are for running in the games.
An Italian policeman investigates a series of murders involving people in prominent positions. Left behind at each murder scene is a drawing of a salamander. The policeman begins to suspect... See full summary »
Rome, 1825. Bishop Rivarola (Tognazzi) and colonel Nardoni (Salerno) are in charge to suppress liberal revolution. Shoemaker Cornacchia (Manfredi) got the information that the liberal ... See full summary »
Enrico Maria Salerno,
Alain Revent, a seductive and refined man, derives a peculiar satisfaction from debasing his wives. The first, driven to the brink of despair, throws herself out of a window. Enlisting the help of an equally perverse casual acquaintance, Dino, the "handsome brute" proceeds to emotionally torture his second wife, Nathalie. The sadistic plan is picked up on by Officer Leroy who suspects the truth. ... See full summary »
American Neil Bowman is traveling through France when he meets British photographer Lila. They are hired by French land owner Duc de Croyter to escort a Hungarian scientist to New York. But... See full summary »
Rosa Nicolosi is not the widow of Salvatore Colasberna, the man murdered in the beginning of the movie, but she is in fact the wife of Paolo Nicolosi, the only eyewitness of the murder. ... See full summary »
Lee J. Cobb
The fact that Henri Charriere wrote this script and acted in the film is the only reason it hasn't slipped into oblivion long ago. For anyone who has read his autobiographies, "Papillon" and "Banco", seeing Henri Charriere in the flesh is the main reason to seek this movie out. The very fact that he went from escaping Devil's Island and then reinventing his life through some death-defying adventures, all the way up to a film-actor, is a feat to be admired.
But this film is really shaky in almost every way. The story was written probably from his own experiences, dealing with diamond thieves in the South American jungles. It's really pretty standard fare, storywise, dealing basically with the theme of honor amongst thieves.
Papillon/Charriere is one of several burglars who stage a daring theft from the steaming jungles, only to experience betrayal from one of their own. They pursue their betrayers and are themselves pursued. But the film maintains an unexpectedly slow pace for this type of movie, despite being basically a "chase story". You almost get the feeling that all of the actors are waiting nervously for Charriere to do something throughout the film, but he spends a lot of time sitting and thinking and smoking before answering questions, in a heavily-accented English.
Charriere seems to have gotten a bit too comfortable by the time he made this film, looking a bit too portly to be taken seriously as a swashbuckling, fist-fighting burglar. The film also contains the typical countercultural themes of the time involving fear of aging, which was perhaps a bit of a marketing ploy to the audiences of the time. It seems a bit out of place in the overall story.
Read Henri Charriere's two autobiographies first, then perhaps watch the Steve McQueen film-version of the first book, which was released only a few months before Charriere died . Only then will you maybe acquire the curiosity to see the man behind the amazing books. Otherwise you may fall asleep before the film is over.
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