During the Cold War, a microfilm concealed in the collar of a panther, transported by freight rail, is sought after by several spies when the animal escapes its cage after the train's derailment in Switzerland.
Roger Quain, who escorts two zoo-bound black panthers on the train from Milan to Paris, agrees to help a Western agent, Catherine Ullven, by hiding a microfilm in the collar of one of the animals. But, while in the Swiss Alps, the train is derailed, the panthers escape and three enemy agents hunt down the animals, Catherine and Roger. Will they escape them?Written by
Spies galore at the mercy of two escaped black panthers in the Swiss Alps
This is in almost every aspect a truly amazing film, and there are many odd things contributing to make it unique in its way. The main players and attractions are not Howard Duff and Marta Toren with all their retinue but the two black panthers, that break loose from a train in Switzerland and terrorize the entire landscape, forcing the army to go to war against them and shoot them dead at any cost, while they are invaluable to Howard Duff, their keeper who lost them, and Marta Toren, who used one of them for a spy message. The intrigue is equally masterly contrived, many parts getting involved in this thing, and several of them not hesitating to kill for their business. Walter Slezak, as the inn-keeper, is the one outsider who is totally innocent and provides a charming character for a change and picturesque addition to the stew. It's difficult to follow all the ways and intrigues and turnings of various spies and agents, which it is impossible to discern immediately who is on which side, but some of them come out alive. It's a delicious piece of cake quite out of the ordinary, there is no other spy thriller like it, but its most rewarding qualities are the marvellous shots from the hunting parties in the Swiss Alps, reminding of great natural documentaries, like those of the Swede Arne Sucksdorff, and also of Frank Borzage's "Mortal Storm" ten years earlier.
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