|INNOCENT BYSTANDERS (director: Peter Collinson; screenwriter: from the novel by James Mitchell; cinematographer: Brian Probyn; editor: Alan Pattillo; music: Johnny Keating; cast: Stanley Baker (John Craig), Geraldine Chaplin (Miriam Loman), Dana Andrews (Blake), Vladek Sheybal (Aaron Kaplan), Donald Pleasence (Loomis), Sue Lloyd (Joanna Benson), Derren Nesbitt (Andrew Royce), Warren Mitchell (Omar), Ferdy Mayne (Marcus Kaplan); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: George H. Brown; Sagittarius Productions (Paramount Pictures); 1972-UK)|
|"A high-quota of sadism and gore."
by Dennis Schwartz
A confusing but entertaining 1960s
Bond-like defector spy thriller. It's stylishly
directed by the uneven Brit filmmaker Peter
Collinson ("Ten Little Indians"/"The
Italian Job"/"The Spiral Staircase").He fills it
with a high-quota of sadism and gore. The spy thriller
is well-produced but still routine fare. It's written
by James Mitchell from his novel.
brilliant Russian scientist Aaron Kaplan (Vladek
Sheybal), noted for his desalination
experiments, escapes from Siberia and
is hunted down in an international manhunt by KGB, CIA
and MI5. The action moves from London to NYC
to Turkey to Cypress. Aging British agent John Craig
(Stanley Baker) goes to NY to contact the scientist's
brother Marcus (Ferdy Mayne) and also meets the naive
American ward of Marcus, Miriam (Geraldine
Chaplin), whom he kidnaps and takes to Turkey to
help track the missing scientist. Meanwhile Craig's
young replacement agent decoys, playing a snappy
couple, (Sue Lloyd and Derren Nesbitt), on orders of
spy boss (Donald Pleasence) find there
way to Turkey and follow Craig to Cypress. The
possibility exists the valued scientist was allowed to
escape to become a Soviet agent. It's the
over-the-hill Baker's call whether to rescue or kill
Dana Andrews is good, as he always is, as he plays the American CIA chief. Geraldine Chaplin is fabulous as the delicate female who can restore Baker's former confidence by just holding hands with him. Warren Mitchell is lively as a conniving Turkish hotel keeper, with some kind of comical Aussie-Turkish accent.
is excellent as the conflicted spy, once the top spy,
who has lost his powers and broods. He proves here he
would have been an interesting choice as Bond if given
the chance as rumored. Baker died in 1976, at age 48.
REVIEWED ON 4/27/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ