In 1905, Polish horse thieves living near the Russian border find their livelihoods threatened by the new Russo-Japanese conflict because the Russian army requisitions all horses and forcibly conscripts all men for the war.
A ruthless pirate captures the keeper of a lighthouse, somewhere in north Argentina. His goal is obvious and horrific. He plans to control the lighthouses signals in a way that the passing ships will be crushed on the rocks.
Vlassov (Yul Brynner) is a Soviet spy. In France, Vlassov defects. He is whisked to the U.S.A., where Allan Davies (Henry Fonda) takes over the case. After polygraph tests and cross-examinations, Vlassov names several Western European agents who are also spying for the Soviets. Davies wants to take the listed agents into custody; meanwhile, those on the list start dying under mysterious circumstances. Written by
Ken Miller <email@example.com>
Enjoyable espionage thriller with a great international cast
Finally I was able to see the thriller The Serpent on DVD under a new but poor title NIGHT TRAIN FROM MOSCOW (why this has been changed I don't know).
Any film that has Yul Brynner, Henry Fonda & Dirk Bogarde has to be worth watching but this is rarely shown on TV so I was pleased to find the recent Pathfinder DVD release. The film is very much in the trend of your typical spy drama from the sixties (see The Spy who came in from the Cold and The Quiller Memorandum) despite being made in 1973.
Brynner is Vlassov a valuable KGB agent who defects on the condition he supplies the CIA with information regarding Double Agents operating in the West. Question: Is he telling the truth or is he himself another carefully placed spy? It's up to CIA head Henry Fonda with the help of British Intelligence Representative Dirk Bogarde to determine this.
Phillipe Noiret, Farley Granger, Robert Alda (father of Alan) and Virna Lisi provide the support in an intriguing thriller. Although some of the plot twists are predictable and there's a lengthy absence of the 3 main protagonists in the second act, the pace is just right as opposed to other Bond alternative spy dramas where slow pacing and no action result in boredom.
Surprising therefore that The Serpent isn't more widely known as it's a gem of a thriller with a good ending.
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