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In post-world-war II Germany, Dutchman Simon Van Halder is accused of killing a British soldier. Although he confessed to the murder in order to obtain penicillin for his illness, Simon is innocent. During the final days of the war, Simon and three other men tried to steal penicillin, from a British Army outpost, for sale on the black market. During the robbery, a British guard got killed. Simon was captured and he initially refused to incriminate himself. However, Simon's accomplices told him that his girlfriend, Anna DeBurg, died. With nothing to lose, Simon agreed to falsely-confess to the murder of the British soldier in order to save the others and also to receive antibiotics for his illness. The military authorities convict him and sentence him to life in prison. During his transport by train to a central prison, Simon tries to escape. His escape fails and he ends up in the prison hospital where he recovers from his illness. While convalescing, a bewildered Simon is shocked to ...Written by
Dirk Bogarde as a fugitive dealing with impossible odds to extricate himself from injustice in a very romantic war thriller in post war Germany..
A surprisingly neglected and unknown Dirk Bogarde thriller well up to the standard of Carol Reed's war dramas. Dirk is a Polish prisoner accused of having murdered a British soldier, but the case is much more complicated. He is actually Dutch and lives only for the beautiful Mai Zetterling, and when he hears she is dead he doesn't care for anything any more but willingly confesses to the murder to save his friends, four fellow prisoners. This is only the introduction to a very tight thriller, mainly taking place in bombed out Hamburg and Berlin. The settings and atmosphere is very much the same as in Carol Reed's "The Man Between" with James Mason of the same year. Dirk Bogarde is no James Mason, but the thriller here is even more interesting and above all more romantic than in Carol Reed's parallel Berlin film. Both succeed in catching the monumental desolation of Berlin after the war and its fathomless tragedy of ruins and consequently compliment each other perfectly.
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