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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Cape Town Affair (1967)

Set in South Africa, a pickpocket (James Brolin) steals the wallet of a female bus passenger (Jacqueline Bisset). What he doesn't know is that the wallet contains a piece of microfilm containing secrets vital to the Cold War and the Russians have paid a lot of money for it. Produced and directed by Robert D. Webb (BENEATH THE 12 MILE REEF), this is a remake of the 1953 Samuel Fuller film PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. It follows the 1953 close enough that Fuller is still credited as one of the screenplay's writers. As a film, it's inept in just about every way and transposing the story to South Africa doesn't work. By 1967, the "red scare" wasn't as predominant as it was in 1953 so the hysterical reaction to the "Commies" seems rather retro. The acting (outside of the three leads, they're all South African actors) is generally poor. Brolin has that indifferent quality as a leading man that TV actors on the big screen sometimes have and Bisset is gorgeous but she hasn't found her acting legs yet. That leaves Claire Trevor as a hustler of neck ties and criminal contacts to provide the one professional performance though she's not a patch on Thelma Ritter who played the part in the 1953 movie. With John Whiteley and Bob Courtney.

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