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Shadow of Treason (1964)

Ring of Spies (original title)
During the Cold War, a RN warrant officer stationed in the British Embassy in Warsaw leaks secrets to his Polish girlfriend who's a Soviet agent and after his transfer to a naval station in Britain he joins a Soviet spy ring.


Robert Tronson


Frank Launder (screenplay), Peter Barnes (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Bernard Lee ... Henry Houghton
William Sylvester ... Gordon Lonsdale
Margaret Tyzack ... Elizabeth Gee
David Kossoff ... Peter Kroger
Thorley Walters ... Cmdr. Winters
Nancy Nevinson ... Helen Kroger
Derek Francis Derek Francis ... Chief Supt. Croft
Hector Ross Hector Ross ... Supt. Woods
George Pravda ... Secondary Supporting Role
Patrick Barr ... Captain Warner
Justine Lord Justine Lord ... Christina
Gillian Lewis Gillian Lewis ... Marjorie Shaw
Newton Blick Newton Blick ... P.O. Meadows
Philip Latham ... Captain Ray
Cyril Chamberlain Cyril Chamberlain ... Anderson


The film is based on the actual events of the Portland Spy Ring trial in the U.K. A disgruntled Navy Clerk is transferred to a secret research establishment and is subsequently black-mailed/paid by Czech intelligence to procure secrets for them. He seduces the secretary who controls the most secret documents, and they enjoy the fruits of their treachery until the British authorities begin to close in on them. Written by Tom Longshaw <longshaw@signal.dera.gov.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A finely woven tale of espionage more exciting than fiction See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

28 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shadow of Treason See more »

Filming Locations:

Bled, Slovenia See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Towards the end of the film, an MI6 intelligence officer called Blake is told that the Portland spies are due to be arrested. He goes to Lord's Cricket Ground in order to warn his Soviet Russian contact, but is recognised by other MI6 officers. The character is based on George Blake of MI6 who did betray secrets to Soviet Russia. He was arrested the same year as the Portland spies. See more »


Harry Houghton is shown signing the Official Secrets Act by the date "September 1950", establishing the time when he joined the Portland Underwater Weapons Establishment. But in the scene immediately prior to this, while he is being driven to Portland, the cars in the background are contemporary to the film's 1963 production, specifically two early 1960s Ford Anglias and a Morris Minor with post-1956 styling. See more »

Crazy Credits

Disclaimer in closing credits: "Although the substance of this film is based upon true events and the leading characters depict actual persons, neither the officials portrayed, nor their establishments, officers or places of work, are based upon real places or actual individuals." See more »


Featured in Al Murray's Great British Spy Movies (2014) See more »


Give Me a Girl
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User Reviews

The Spies of Ruislip
31 December 2018 | by wilsonstuart-32346See all my reviews

No need to repeat the background to the actual case that inspired this excellent spy thriller. Compared to the ludicrous heroics and wild SFX of Bond, Bourne or Mission Impossible, Ring Of Spies seems like a different planet. But this was an era when the West faced a different sort of opponent (even if the the three threat was exaggerated to one degree or another). Security breaches had occurred before Portland, and would feature again afterwards, but never had the shadow of the enemy spy felt so close to suburbia and the Home Counties. Although long forgotten now, perhaps only Profumo overtook Portland in terms of (the then) public conscious.

The cast are uniformly good, a real effort is made to dig out (but not condone) Bernard Lee's cash strapped wheeler dealer clerk, and his infatuated spinster girlfriend. William Slyvester excels as the smooth talking professional operating under a Soviet 'legend'. The action takes place in rustic pubs, cafes, drab offices and snack bars - there's no glamour or gadgets in this slow burner, Cold War thriller.

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