25 March 2008 | mdewey
Quirky Quiller, subtle thriller
As other reviewers have suggested, this Cold War Neo-Nazi intrigue is more concerned with subtle, low-key plot evolution than the James Bond in-your-face-gadgetry genre that was prevalent during the 60's-70's. George Segal provides us with a lead character who is somewhat quirky in his demeanor, yet nonetheless effective in his role as an agent. His dry but quick Yiddish humor shines through on many occasions, providing diversions that masquerade his underlying desire to expose the antagonists' machinations. His romantic interest is Senta Berger, whose understated and laconic dialog provides the perfect counterpoint to Segal's character. Alec Guiness and George Sanders have brief roles as Segal's Control and Home Office head, respectively, and both rather coldly and matter-of-factly pooh-pooh over the grisly death of Segal's agent predecessor. In typically British mordant fashion, George Sanders and a fellow staffer in Britain are lunching in London on pheasant, more concerned with the quality of their repast than with the loss of their man in the field!
That said, the story moves along in a neo-noirish, eerie fashion as Segal continues his search for and exposure of the Nazi cadre. Great job by Max von Sydow who articulately plays his villainous role to the fullest. The remaining cast, mostly German actors, fulfill the demands of their roles more than adequately. Nice plot twist at the end, especially for those who disdain trite endings. Good period piece!