17 September 2001 | apest301
Another story of the conventional man rescued from his conventionality by an unconventional woman.
This sixties era B-film used to appear occasionally on late-night TV, but in recent years seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. It deserved a better fate.
On the surface, the film plods along as an offbeat, tongue-in-cheek spy thriller. Ian Carmichael's stuffy and uncomfortable-looking astrophysicist is drawn out of his boring existence and into a web of international intrigue, after an encounter with an old friend from the other side of the Iron Curtain leads him into the clutches of an alluring but devious female (played by Janet Munro). A series of increasingly improbable adventures ensues, from which he emerges, at the end, somewhat less stuffy and uncomfortable-looking. (And this was surely the point of it all, to wind up somewhat less stuffy and uncomfortable-looking, as surely as Alan Bates was meant to wind up dancing on the beach with Anthony Quinn at the end of "Zorba the Greek".)
Much the same sort of plot one encounters in films such as "Silver Streak" and "Something Wild", both of which were made some years later. The strength of this particular film is the chemistry of its characters. Carmichael's professor develops just enough wit to prevent him from becoming a total bore. Janet Munro is especially engaging as the temptress. Oscar-winner Hugh Griffith is a standout as a rum-drinking, Shakespeare-quoting bargeman. And Curt Jurgens never takes himself too seriously as the villain of the piece.
All in all, an amusing little entry into the liberation-through-madness genre. Certainly not in the same league as "Zorba the Greek". On the other hand, I would much rather wind up dancing on the beach with Janet Munro than with Anthony Quinn.