Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on ... See full summary »
Henry Hobson is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
In Paris, a down and out medical student Johann Radek (Franchot Tone) is paid by Bill Kirby (Robert Hutton) to murder his wealthy aunt. A knife grinder (Burgess Meredith) is suspected, but Radek keeps taunting the police until they realize that he is the killer. The police and Maigret (Charles Laughton) are led on chases through the streets and over the rooftops of Paris and finally up the girders of the Eiffel Tower.Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
The first American picture to be shot wholly in color in Paris, the Ansco Color process being used to maximise the cinematic impact of the story's authentic locations. See more »
Radek manages to climb from the ground almost to the top of the Eiffel tower, on the outside using the framework only, in record time using no climbing equipment and dressed in street clothes. Although the distance is actually only 300 metres it would take even a professional climber at least a couple of hours as the headwinds and cross currents would make it hugely difficult and time consuming. Yet at times Radek manages to climb faster than the tower elevator can move. See more »
As I started watching The Man On the Eiffel Tower it looked like it was going to go in the direction of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. Robert Hutton is having a sit down with his wife Patricia Roc and his mistress Jean Wallace in a Paris cafe. He gets an offer from Franchot Tone who was all ears that he'd kill Hutton's aunt who controls the family pursestrings so that Hutton could be independent.
Tone doesn't lack for chops. He not only does the deed with a maid thrown in for good measure, he manages to pin the crime on milquetoast Burgess Meredith who just happened on the scene.
Fortunately police inspector Maigret as played by Charles Laughton doesn't buy the pat scenario. He turns up Tone as a suspect, but he can't quite pin it on him. Tone's character reeks of Nietzchean superiority and France had just gotten liberated from a country that bought into that philosophy. Probably for today's audience, especially an American one, that particular dynamic can't be appreciated.
Even an escape allowed by the Paris police by Meredith blows up in Laughton's face and threatens to ruin the career of Inspector Maigret. Fortunately Laughton has a few tricks up his sleeve.
What we have in The Man On the Eiffel Tower is three very distinguished players from stage and screen who got together and made the film almost as a lark. Tone spent his entire film career trying to get out from under typecasting as a debonair gentleman in tails who usually loses the girl in the end to a bigger name. Right after this was done Franchot Tone did exactly that role in Frank Capra's Here Comes the Groom. His role here as Radek is certainly miles away from his usual parts. Tone produced this as he also produced another independent film the year before, Jigsaw, which was shot in New York.
He got friend Burgess Meredith to direct and play the stooge. The story unfortunately does sag at times until the climax chase scene on the Eiffel Tower. That whole sequence is almost like The Third Man except where Harry Lime seeks escape in the sewers of Vienna, superman Tone leads his pursuers up the Eiffel Tower. In the end though he's not quite the superman he thinks he is.
Charles Laughton made a nice Inspector Maigret. This is the second French police inspector of literature he's done. But there sure is a world of difference between Maigret and Javert of Les Miserables. In fact Laughton is far more like Sir Wilfred Robards in Witness for the Prosecution than Javert.
It's too bad that director Meredith didn't have the kind of computer generated special effects and had to rely on brave stunt men and actors to do the job. If Man on the Eiffel Tower were filmed today, I'm sure it would have been far better.
This criticism is almost a cliché, but Alfred Hitchcock could have really done something with The Man on the Eiffel Tower.
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