A 1988 television adaptation of Robert Ludlum's thriller. An injured, unconscious man (Richard Chamberlain) washes ashore in a small French town. As he recovers, it becomes quite clear, someone is trying to kill him. Jaclyn Smith co-stars.
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During World War II, an intelligence officer is dispatched by the U.S. government to arrange an exchange in Argentina of industrial diamonds needed by the Germans for a secret gyroscope needed by the Allies.
An unconscious man is washed ashore on the beach of a small French village during a heavy storm. A retired doctor takes care of the unconscious stranger. When the mysterious man recovers, he can't remember a thing...he does not know his name, he does not know where his flashback memories come from, and he does not know why the access code for an anonymous Swiss bank account is implanted in his thigh. As he seeks his own identity, things quickly become dangerous. There are attempts to kill him, he is well known in first class hotels across Europe, and worst of all, there are strange similarities between his memories and reported actions of the notorious terrorist, Carlos the Jackal. Written by
Alto Speckhardt <Alto.Speckhardt@student.uni-ulm.de>
"The Bourne Identity" (1988) is a faithful recreation of Robert Ludlum's book about an amnesiac slowly (in a very long book) discovering who he is. The supporting cast is dotted with veterans that make the movie come to life during their brief parts: Denholm Elliott, Anthony Quayle, Peter Vaughan, James Faulkner.
The stars strain to carry the movie. Jaclyn Smith is immensely watchable, though her range is limited. Richard Chamberlain is a fine actor, but, perhaps because of insufficient rehearsal time or because he was never able to find a character who didn't know who he was, he comes off with the range of Bill Bixby, though that keeps him from burying Smith. In the end, Chamberlain may be much too nice for the character, but he's a likable actor and she's a likable actress and they make a pretty pair.
Because it was originally a two-part television drama, the 1988 "Bourne" has sufficient time to let the story unfold, as well as to build the unlikely relationship between Chamberlain's character and Smith's. It also gives the supporting characters flesh out their meager parts. After a slam-bang first hour, the movie settles into a more leisurely pace (that occasionally drags), that builds again into an exciting final hour.
The possible overplotting, as well as the outright absurdities (such as the truth of Treadstone 21) are squarely to be laid at Ludlum's door. And though it's quite faithful to Ludlum, the setting of the climax makes this movie version far more poignant than Ludlum himself was capable of.
"The Bourne Identity" has the technology of '80s television, so newcomers shouldn't expect contemporary sensibilities. It may not be as exciting as the remake, but it has a solid storyline.
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