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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Le Serpent (aka Night Flight From Moscow) (1973)

A high ranking KGB official (Yul Brynner) defects to the West in Paris but seeks asylum in America. While he is cooperative when being interrogated and the information he gives leads to the exposure of Soviet agents in France and Germany, the U.S. officials are still suspicious about his motives for defecting. How trustworthy is he? Quite similar in narrative to the Hitchcock cold war spy thriller TOPAZ, it may not be as polished but it's a better film. Its approach is more like a semi-documentary not unlike those Louis De Rochemont films of the 1940s. It's typical of the international spy thrillers of the 60s and early 70s with its polyglot cast consisting of American (Henry Fonda), English (Dirk Bogarde), French (Philippe Noiret), Italian (Virna Lisi) and German (Elga Andersen) actors. Fortunately, in the version I saw there wasn't that annoying dubbing as English, French and Russian were spoken. As far as cold war espionage thrillers go, it's quite decent and should hold your attention to the very end. Its only shortcoming is its occasionally incoherent narrative. Directed by Henri Verneuil (THE SICILIAN CLAN). The inconsequential score is by Ennio Morricone. With Farley Granger, Robert Alda, Michel Bouquet and Marie Dubois (JULES AND JIM) who has one good scene.

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