3 December 2015 | clanciai
Double cross Dutch style in the second world war with tragic success
This is a wonder of a film, completely unknown and gradually being discovered as an exceptional gem of priceless interest in the flood of war propaganda films of the second world war. Emeric Pressburger wrote the original story, and you can trace his hand everywhere, so that it actually could be suspected on reasonable grounds that this was an ordinary Powell- Pressburger film all through, but Vernon Sewell, who lived to be almost 98 and made many praiseworthy films, together with Gordon Wellesley softened the script somewhat and made it more stringent with marvellous results for the action, the developing plot of constant surprises, the very sensitive nuances of the characters and all supported by the perfectly adapted dramatic music by Allan Gray. Although Ralph Richardson makes as eloquent and clearcut a character as ever, always reliable for interesting and straight-backed integrity, the most interesting performance is by Esmond Knight as the leading nazi, making quite a nazi character out of the ordinary in hilarious serious caricature. Pressburger disagreed with turning the character thus, but it's a great success - you'll never forget his plater of spaghetti, perhaps the best scene in the film. In brief, this is a surprisingly sparkling film of suspense and intelligence to discover and enjoy and with great delight never to part with.