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It's easy to only remember Alfred Hitchcock's great movies and praise him for his masterpieces but it's an absolute fact that even the master of suspense directed some very mediocre movies throughout his career. This is one of those movies that's generally considered to be one of his lesser ones. Having said that, personally I quite liked this movie, though it most definitely is not up to par with Hitchcock's greatest ones.

Even though for most part this movie never really screams out Hitchcock to you, there still are some moments of greatness in this movie. It are little things mostly that indicate that this movie got directed by a more than just average director. The way how certain things are framed in certain shots and the tension and mystery gets build up at times, things like that really. It all makes this a still better than average genre attempt, in my opinion.

It's a good old fashioned spy thriller and by old fashioned I mean a movie in the vein of some of the '40's and '50's, black & white, genre movies. What's all the more interesting about it is that it's a cold war thriller, made at the height of the actual real cold war. Movies like that are always a tad bit more interesting to watch in my experience, since they deal with the real fears and issues of its time.

It's the type of movie in which you can never trust anyone and you know it's going to be filled with some traitors and other backstabbing characters and moments in it. It's kind of annoying in a way how you just know that you can trust anybody and nothing is what it seems but it at the same time of course makes this movie a, for most part, unpredictable and surprising. I admit, it also makes the movie a complicated one at parts and the movie therefore isn't always being the easiest or most pleasant one to watch but I myself aren't complaining too much about any of it, since I liked the story, for most part.

Thing that definitely still felt lacking from this movie though was a big and recognizable name and star in it. This definitely is a movie that could have used a Cary Grant or James Stewart in it, in my opinion. It's also true that both of these actors were perhaps already a bit too old for the lead role in this movie but I just wish there was someone of their caliber in this movie. There are absolutely no recognizable names or faces in this movie though and I also have to say that the acting felt lacking in parts. It besides became kind of hard after a while telling who is who and whose side they are on exactly, especially also once more and more characters got introduced to the story.

Of course far from Alfred Hitchcock's best or most remarkable movie but it simply is a pretty nice and tight, old fashioned, spy thriller, with also some real moments of greatness in it.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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