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John Phillip Law
Two aging playboys are both after the same attractive young woman, but she fends them off by claiming that she plans to remain a virgin until her wedding night. Both men determine to find a way around her objections.
When Arthur Davis, a junior bachelor in the British Secret Service's African section, is seen taking a file with him, to meet his girlfriend Cynthia, the brass fears he may be the leak to Moscow, and allows Dr. Percival to terminate the "risk factor" by poisoning to avoid a scandal. In fact, Davis' desk chief, Maurice Castle, is the double Agent, since the South African Communists helped him smuggle out his black lover Sarah M., meanwhile his wife and mother of schoolboy Sam, to force him to cooperate with the Apartheid government. When Cornelius Muller, the South African official who failed to get him in Pretoria's power, visits London for the anti-Communist operation Uncle Remus, he points out Castle still is the natural suspect.Written by
Maurice Castle (Nicol Williamson) is a bland mid-level bureaucrat in British intelligence. The only notable fact about him is his African wife Sarah (Iman). His superiors suspect a leak in the firm and decide to quietly eliminate the mole to avoid any publicity. Castle's office mate Arthur Davis (Derek Jacobi) becomes the main target of investigation.
Otto Preminger directs this realistic espionage thriller from a Graham Greene novel with many veteran British actors. With such great pedigree, I expected a great classic but this is definitely second tier level. It does get better in the second half. The first half is a slow slough. Maurice's blandness works against the film during that first half. In fact, he's a side character in his own movie. The production value is limited. This looks more like a TV movie. Preminger is really struggling even considering the budget. The filming is not imaginative and very static. It's almost a throwback to the early black and white movies. The only salvation is the Graham Greene writing which has a sense of realism which is very intriguing. This is a little disappointing.
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