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A Touch of Treason (1962)

Les ennemis (original title)
During his absence, secret (and normally undecipherable) documents have been stolen from Andrei Smoloff, a cultural attaché at the Soviet Embassy in Paris. Through an indiscretion, the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Le capitaine Jean de Lursac
... Christine Janin
... Lillia Fromont
... Vigo Currici
... Mme de Lursac - la mère de Jean
... Patrick Lemoine
George Cusin ... Le commandant
... Le médecin du contre-espionnage
Charles Millot ... Borghine
Jacques Monod ... Raoul Gerlier
Nicole Mirel ... Claudie
Michel Vitold ... Andreï Smoloff
Nelly Benedetti ... La femme de René
Colette Boiville
Pierre Collet ... René - un homme de Gerlier
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Storyline

During his absence, secret (and normally undecipherable) documents have been stolen from Andrei Smoloff, a cultural attaché at the Soviet Embassy in Paris. Through an indiscretion, the French Secret Services are made aware of the affair and a team consisting of Captain Jean de Lursac and Vigo Currici is set up by the "Commander" to pursue the matter. Meanwhile Smoloff is summoned at the Soviet Embassy by Borghine, the chief of the Russian Secret Services in Paris. The victim of the theft has to struggle hard to prove his innocence. But is Smoloff really innocent as he claims or does he play a double game? And is France connected in any way with the events? It will be up to Jean and Vigo to find out. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Drama

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Release Date:

9 February 1962 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Touch of Treason  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 24525 delivered on 6-12-1961. See more »

Quotes

Borghine: You didn't act like an enemy.
Le capitaine Jean de Lursac: Sure, being an enemy is something much more complicated.
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Connections

Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.57 (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Dixie
Written and composed by Daniel Decatur Emmett
(1859)
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User Reviews

 
Little known spy movie, unpretentious but not without qualities
24 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

Made just before the great spy movie wave of the sixties, 'Les Ennemis' (A Touch of Treason) is typical of the genre which was to sweep the screens only a few months after its release, beginning with 'Dr. No'. Halfway between the unbridled fantasy of the James Bond saga and the ruthless toughness of 'The Spy Who Came In from the Cold', Molinaro's first foray into the world of espionage (he would return to the genre six years later with 'Peau d'espion') is very much a product of its time, quite pleasant if not revolutionary.

Based on an obscure novel by Fred Noro, the plot is as embroiled as a spy story should be, one of the pleasures of the viewer being to try and unravel the tangle it forms. The whole thing revolves around a certain Andrei Smoloff, the cultural attaché at the Soviet Embassy, from whom reputedly undecipherable documents have been stolen. Has the diplomat simply been imprudent or is he a traitor to his motherland preparing to defect to the West ? Such is the question to which both Borghine, the Chief of the Soviet Services, and Captain Jean de Lursac accompanied by his teammate Vigo, two agents of the French Intelligence, try to figure out an answer, each on their own. It goes without saying that before the riddle is solved we will have been witness to the fierce struggle waged between the French, Soviet and American counter-espionage, their objective in the circumstances of the story being to trace Smoloff and to be the first to get their hands on the missing documents.

Nothing startlingly new in all that for sure but the film is well put together, skilfully combining fast-paced rhythm, humor and an ounce of gravity. The same thing could be said about the "buddy cop movie" gimmick the film rests on: it can hardly be called original as we know from the very first minute that the two teammates will be at each other's throats throughout their mission while remaining inseparable! But the duo works well and a good time in their company is guaranteed. Anyway, once admitted that "Les ennemis" does not break new ground it proves commendable for other reasons, the main one being the serious way it deals with its subject, even if it is in a light tone most of the time : the members of the various intelligence services all speak their own language ; the day-to-day operations of these services, whether French or foreign, are described realistically, without resorting Bond- like gadgets; and best of all, the stress is laid on what could bring antagonistic countries (France and the USSR in this particular case) closer together rather than the opposite as is wont in such a codified genre. Another good point is the director's propensity to dot his narrative with a multitude of details, unrelated with action or secondary to it, but which enrich it delicately. It goes from Gerlier (the boss of the gang) feeding the ducks, to Lemoine (the young hoodlum) swatting a fly while giving a phone call, to a totally gratuitous cameo by director Claude Chabrol as a gym instructor, to the appendage of colorful secondary characters (de Lursac's snobbish mother, the counter- espionage doctor played by... comedian Jean Lefebvre!)

One final thing to keep in mind is Molinaro's light touch when it comes to the things of love and sex. He is at his best when he describes the relationship that binds Jean (Roger Hanin) and Christine (Pascale Audret): tenderness laced with humor, adult but discreet eroticism; the few scenes involving the couple are full of charm. Nothing to do with the brazen exhibition of flesh de rigueur in this kind of flicks. All in all, a watchable little film, benefiting from a slick direction and fluid editing. It is rather suspenseful, quite entertaining (witticisms burst forth throughout), well-played (as interpreted by the excellent Michel Vitold, the character of Smoloff is more than one- dimensional), graced with an efficient jazzy score... More than one alleged masterpiece cannot boast as much.


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