During the 1956 Hungarian uprising, an American mercenary is hired to smuggle a Hungarian resistance leader out of Soviet-occupied Budapest.During the 1956 Hungarian uprising, an American mercenary is hired to smuggle a Hungarian resistance leader out of Soviet-occupied Budapest.During the 1956 Hungarian uprising, an American mercenary is hired to smuggle a Hungarian resistance leader out of Soviet-occupied Budapest.
Cold War standard thriller of perils, intrigues, complications and narrow escapes of normal procedure
The problem here is the script which isn't quite coherent, committing the deadly sin of keeping the audience out of touch with what is really going on - a lot of incidents and parts of the intrigue raises question marks that never are answered. This is not a Graham Greene story but an Alistair MacLean story, which concentrates more on suspense and effects than on any psychology that makes sense. Perhaps the book is better than the film, it usually is, and in that case the film suffers from severe logic gaps. Richard Widmark is always good and reliable, he never lets his audiences down, and the cinematography is the great advantage of the film, which needs something to counterpoise its over-meticulous slow action and rather dreary character - Alistair MacLean always made the villains and the enemy (in this case those behind the iron curtain) appear worse scoundrels than they were, exaggerating the justification for paranoia. The music is good, and it is actually one of John Wlliams' first scores, and he seldom made a better one. It's not on par with Anton Karas' unsurpassed suggestive cither music of "The Third Man", like the entire film falls into its shadow, but it is good and suggestive enough. It is neither one of Alistair MacLean's nor Richard Widmark's best shows, but it is interesting, and the Hungarians actually speak Hungarian - the realism is convincing enough.
- Aug 8, 2022
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