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Fred F. Sears
R. Wright Campbell,
After 1919, Russian Boris Mitrov immigrates to the USA where he becomes an American citizen. Over the decades he builds a career in the film industry. In 1959, Mitrov is a movie producer with many rich influential friends. He continues to cultivate other Russian émigrés like himself and even some members of the Soviet Embassy in Washington. One of his Soviet friends is Embassy official Vladimir "Vadja" Kubelov. In reality, Kubelov is a KGB colonel who finds Mitrov useful to the Soviet cause by providing certain services. For instance, Mitrov provides reference letters of employment for various Soviet sleeper agents in the USA. Mitrov throws parties for Soviet diplomats, spies and American Communists such as millionaire bankers Adrian and Helen Benson. All these activities catch the attention of American intelligence agency CBI which places Mitrov and his entourage under close surveillance. When the CBI confronts Mitrov about his activities, he admits it but claims naivete. Eager to ...Written by
The character Boris Mitrov is loosely based on Boris Morros, who was identified by the U.S. government as a counterspy in 1957. See more »
A decent time passer with one giant problem
This is a decent Cold War film about a Russian film director working in the United States. While he is not a Communist, his "friends" are and while he tells himself he isn't working for them, he has accepted favors and naively thinks it will all somehow work out. However, when he is confronted by the CBI(?) (a fictional US government agency), he realizes he's become a Communist stooge and agrees to help the US in a counter-espionage mission behind the Iron Curtain.
While the film is a decent enough time-passer and the last 1/3 of the film is pretty exciting, it has one giant problem and a few small ones. Oddly, they decided to cast Ernest Borgnine as the Russian Director yet he never even sounds the least bit Russian and you can STILL detect his New York accent. This makes the entire film seem rather cheesy and very tough to believe. Had they recast the film and perhaps punched up the first 1/3, it could have been an exciting spy yarn. Oddly, just a few years later, Borgnine was cast as a Russian in ICE STATION ZEBRA and he was able to do a decent Russian accent! Additionally, when Borgnine's character went to Moscow, it looked like a bad travelogue with all the stock footage inserted rather haphazzardly into the movie. As it is, it's just passable entertainment and a mildly interesting curio of the Cold War.
By the way, don't get the idea I hate Cold War films--I am a history teacher and naturally love a good espionage film and could recommend several good ones such as I MARRIED A COMMUNIST and ASSIGNMENT Paris.
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