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Mark of the Tortoise (1964)

Wartezimmer zum Jenseits (original title)
The nephew of a murdered millionaire decides to track down his uncle's killer. He faces many life-threatening dangers as he tries to break into the inner circle of the sinister criminal "The Tortoise."

Director:

Alfred Vohrer
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Cast

Credited cast:
Hildegard Knef ... Lorelli
Götz George ... Donald 'Don' Micklem
Richard Münch Richard Münch ... Mario Orlandi di Alsconi
Heinz Reincke ... Inspektor Dickes
Carl Lange ... Crantor
Pinkas Braun ... Felix
Adelheid Seeck Adelheid Seeck ... Lady Helen Bradley
Hans Paetsch ... Sir Cyrus Bradley
Jan Hendriks ... Carlos
Joachim Rake Joachim Rake ... Butler Dixon
Klaus Kinski ... Shapiro
Hans Clarin ... Harry Mason
Frank Straass Frank Straass ... Giacopo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rudolf Fenner Rudolf Fenner
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Storyline

The nephew of a murdered millionaire decides to track down his uncle's killer. He faces many life-threatening dangers as he tries to break into the inner circle of the sinister criminal "The Tortoise."

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Action | Thriller

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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

April 1964 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Mark of the Tortoise See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 1,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Edited into The Mysterious Magician (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Game Of Two Halves
9 November 2013 | by Joseph_GillisSee all my reviews

There's so much to like in this film - an adaptation of a James Hadley Chase novel - and so much to admire, especially in the playing, and the all-pervasive sense of cruelty and despair - but ultimately it fails, due to the compromises it makes, not least in the apparent need to appeal to fans of James Bond films; and of super- villains, and 60s cool.

For the most part, the best elements are in the London scenes of the first third of the film, and our expectations are high for the film, given the crispness and bluntness of the early establishing scenes: the way that we're forewarned of an imminent assassination- and the manner in which we are familiarised with the various gang members assigned to carry it out: ice-cruel blonde, (Hildegarde Knef); facially-disfigured henchman, Crantor (Carl Lange) - masquerading here as a London taxi-driver - and twitchy ex-circus knifethrower, Shapiro (Klaus Kinski). And then there's their mysterious leader, Alsconi (Richard Munch ), initially present only by way of a trans- continental car-phone,

Doubts begin to set in when the action switches to Trieste, - and the budget cranks up, accordingly: a far remove from the claustrophobia of dingy hotels and broken down caravans of London backstreets. Now, we're in a land of exotic castles; and gadgetry more befitting the 21st Century; and underground tunnels, and sleek rooms and corridors; and super-villains more suited to Bonds and UNCLEs. It doesn't unravel completely, as we're continually pondering character motivations, and who will ultimately double-cross who; and danger seems to lurk around every frame. But, ultimately it's not the film I had wanted it to be.

Knef's magnetic screen charisma - and carefully-enunciated calculation - dominates every scene she's in, irrespective of competition ;the bleached-blond, cruel-lipped Munch just manages to steer the right side of caricature; Kinski is even more riveting - and his characterisation is all the more iconic for being briefer than we might have wanted it to be; and Götz George - although he perhaps shows a tad too much resourcefulness for the of average intelligence Cambridge student that's introduced to us - at least proves that he could make for an ideal German James Bond equivalent.

If for no other reason than the London scenes, series stalwart, Alfred Vohrer, acquits himself well; I'd lay the film's failings at the hands of the scriptwriters and producers


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