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A network of older spies from the West recruits a young intelligence officer with a photographic memory to accompany them on a mission inside Russia. They must recover a letter written by the CIA that promises American assistance to Russia if China gets the atomic bomb. Written by
Average spy film about the Cold War with twists , turns and confused script
The film concerns an ex-official called Charles Ron (Patrick O'Neal) is recruited in an underground spies ring . They must retrieve at whatever cost a letter that a Cia agent signed by error in a document which promises American assistance to Russia and attack to China if this nation gets nuclear weapon . The group is formed by a priest (Dean Jagger) , a beautiful girl (Barbara Parkins) with ability as safe-cracker , an unscrupulous man called ¨the Whore¨ (Nigel Green) , an uncanny and astute spy (Richard Boone) and even an old drag (George Sanders) . They go inside Russia to find the mysterious letter . They'll confront a cunning head of Soviet Politburó (Orson Welles) and an evil KGB agent (Max Von Sidow) whose wife (Bibbi Andersson) falls in love with the protagonist Ron .
The film has suspense , tension , emotion , mystery and specially in its final a little bit of violence . Although the picture has various ingredients for entertainment , the screenplay is confused and complex , the plot has gaps and results to be sometimes embarrassing and absurd . This movie was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name by Noel Behn was first published in 1966 and this was the first ever adaptation for cinema of a work by Behn . This exciting picture was filmed in four countries: Finland, Italy, Mexico, and the USA ; the scenes set in Moscow were shot in Helsinki, Finland . A number of characters in this movie are known by code-names , these include "The Highwayman" (Dean Jagger); "The Whore" (Nigel Green); "The Warlock" (George Sanders); "Erector Set" (Niall MacGinnis) ; "The Negress" (Vonetta McGee); "The Priest" (Marc Lawrence); "The Dentist" (Victor Beaumont) and "The Puppet Maker" (Raf Vallone) . The film belongs to spy sub-genre developed during the cold war and its maxim representation are John LeCarre's novels adapted to cinema in various films such as: ¨The spy who came in from the cold¨ (by Martin Ritt with Richard Burton), ¨Deadly Affair¨(Sidney Lumet with Maximilian Schell) and Russia House (Fred Schepisi with Sean Connery) . The star studded casting is important with known international actors but with a blurred writing they appear acting with no sense . The film was regularly directed by John Huston (who acts in a very secondary role) . Rating : Mediocre , though entertaining .
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