The fashion industry and Paris provide the setting for a comedy surrounding the mistaken impression that Joanne Woodward is a high-priced call girl. Paul Newman is the journalist interviewing her for insights on her profession.
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For some reason, this year's Nobel prize in literature has been awarded to the young author Andrew Craig, who seems to be more interested in women and drinking than writing. Another laureate is Dr. Max Stratman, the famous German-American physicist who comes to Stockholm for the award ceremony with his young and beautiful niece Emily. The Foreign Department also assigns him an assistant during his stay, Miss Andersson. Craig soon notices that Dr. Stratman is acting strangely. The second time they meet, Dr. Stratman does not even recognize him. Craig begins to investigate.Written by
Turning an Irving Wallace story into a homage to Hitchcock?
If you have read the book, what the film has to offer is unfortunately a replay of what Hitchcock created in 1959.
Ernest Lehman was the script writer for Hitchcock's "North by northwest." I was surprised that two scenes from the classic were modified by Lehman for "The Prize". The famous scene of Cary Grant being almost killed by a plane in the open field is replayed here with Paul Newman being terrorized by a car on an empty bridge at night. A few minutes later into the film Lehman replaces the auction sequence in the Cary Grant film with Newman in a nudist conference. If you have seen the Hitchcock film you know what follows. Was it a homage to Hitchcock or was Lehman suffering a bout of creativity loss? Or was Director Mark Robson a die hard Hitchcock fan?
The book, pulp fiction at its best, made good casual reading. The film is good to pass the time, watching Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson re-enacting roles similar to what they have enjoyed playing so often. The wisecracks (thanks to Irving Wallace) make the otherwise dumb and predictable film worth your time.
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