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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SUSPICION "The Flight" 1957 This is episode 9 of the Alfred
Hitchcock produced series, SUSPICION. This series ran for 42 episodes
Vladimir Sokoloff is walking down a darkened N.Y. street when a car pulls up. Three large men in trench-coats pile out, grab Sokoloff, throw him in the car and re-enter themselves. The car then speeds off into the night.
Audie Murphy is an ex-Navy flier who now works for a small fly by night cargo and air taxi service. Two "foreign' speaking gentlemen approach him with a job. They offer him $4,000 in cash to pilot a plane for them. Murphy jumps at the chance for a nice roll like that. The men, Everett Sloane and Henry Brandon fork over $1,000 for Murphy to rent a suitable twin engine job.
Murphy inquires as to the cargo and destination and is told, just three passengers for Tampa, then on to Bermuda. Murphy rents a small twin with long-range fuel tanks. Sloane informs Murphy they wish to leave that midnight. He will be paid half his fee up front, and remainder at flight's end.
Midnight arrives and an ambulance pulls up. Sloane and Brandon carry a litter with an unconscious man, Sokoloff, on board the aircraft. Sloane tells Murphy that the man on the litter is a wealthy sick man going south for the sun.
The aircraft takes off for the flight to Tampa. There, they will re-fuel for the trip to Bermuda. Murphy is now told the destination has been changed. Instead of Bermuda, they are headed for a small "Banana Republic" on the coast of South America. As long as he is getting paid, it is OK with Murphy.
Refueled, the plane starts winging it to the new destination. The aircraft lands on a small airfield and is greeted by half a dozen armed men. Sloane and Brandon exit the aircraft to speak to the soldiers. Inside, the man on the litter, Sokoloff, comes out of his drug-induced stupor. He calls to Murphy that he has been kidnapped. He presses a large ring into Murphy's hand. "Give that to your State Department as proof I've been taken." Murphy pockets the ring and asks Sokoloff to explain further.
Brandon now returns to the aircraft, sees Murphy speaking to Sokoloff, and applies the butt end of a pistol to Murphy's head.
Several days later we find Murphy sitting in a bar nursing a large drink. It seems he has recovered from the cosh on the head. He is now a "guest" of the Republic. He has the "freedom" of the town, but cannot leave the country. No fuel for his plane.
Sitting in the bar is also fellow Yank, Jack Warden. Warden is a PR man for the Republic. He warns Murphy to just behave himself and they will eventually let him leave the country.
Several days more go by, and Murphy, trying to fight boredom, is taking Spanish lessons from the bar ivory pounder, Susan Kohner.
During one of the lessons, Murphy happens to pull Sokoloff's ring from his pocket. Kohner's eyes open wide when she sees said ring. She quizzes Murphy on the ring. Murphy mumbles something about it being his father's ring.
In the bar next day, he is going through an American newspaper and sees an article on Sokoloff. He is missing and suspected of being taken right off the streets of New York. Sokoloff was the publisher of an anti-government newspaper in his homeland. He had fled to the US to avoid arrest. Murphy of course feels like a heel for his part in the deal.
Sloane, who we now know, along with Brandon are in the Secret Police, pays Murphy a call. Sloane sees Murphy looking at the newspaper and frowns. "That article is nonsense! I'll take you to meet Sokoloff right now!" Into the Police car and a quick trip to a guarded villa where Murphy is shown into a room. Sitting quietly in a wheelchair is Sokoloff. He tells Murphy he was "more" than happy to return to his country. Murphy notices that Sokoloff's hands are all twisted and bandaged. Sloane now offers Murphy a job as a pilot with the Republic's three plane Airline.
That night, after some drinks, Murphy is grabbed off the street and given another cosh on the noggin. This time it is the underground that has hold of him. His Spanish teacher, Kohner, Vito Scotti and Joe Perry would like a word or two.
Murphy tells all and offers to throw in with the rebels. He knows where Sokoloff is being held. The small group is now joined by Jack Warden. He has had enough of the country as well. They sit and thrash out a plan.
Warden calls Brandon with a PR idea. What better way to shake off the American press, than a photo of American pilot Murphy and Sokoloff shaking hands. Brandon agrees and drives Warden and Murphy to the villa. Once inside, Brandon gets a bit of his own medicine and has a pistol butt applied to his head.
Warden and Murphy then overpower the guard outside Sokoloff's room. The three then dash for the car for an escape. Brandon though, has recovered and starts shooting. He is quickly killed by return fire. The three men now hit the gas and speed to the docks where Sokoloff is put on a small coaster. The ship sets sail for first Cuba, then on to the States.
Murphy, Warden and Scotti now head for Murphy's plane. It has been re-fuelled by the rebels and is ready to go. Now Sloane shows with several soldiers. A brisk exchange of gunfire erupts with Sloane, most of the soldiers, and Warden being killed. Though wounded, Murphy manages to get the plane off the ground. As Scotti works on Murphy's wound, Murphy sets course for Miami. (b/w)
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