EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
(director: Menahem Golan/Raphael Nussbaum; screenwriters: Marc Behm/Alexander Ramati;
cinematographer: Yitzhak Herbst;
music: Dov Seltzer;
cast: Audie Murphy (Mike
George Sanders (Professor
Schlieben), Marianne Koch (Helga Schlieben), Hans von Borsody (Hans
Klugg), Elana Eden (Hadassa), Yosef Yadin (Capt. Gabar), Gila
Almagor (Yasmin), Zalman (Ephraim); Runtime: 103; MPAA
producer: Menahem Golan;
1966-Israel-dubbed in English)
|"A colorful but absurd political thriller."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A colorful but absurd political thriller
filmed in Israel and Italy by codirectors Menahem Golan ("Final Combat")
and Raphael Nussbaum. It's
written by Marc Behm and Alexander Ramati, who write this weak
screenplay that tries to cash in on the popularity of James Bond. The
pic's dashing hero is the fortysomething Audie Murphy, who plays action
hero Mike Merrick. This is one of the few times Audie is not in a
Western. He's an American agent sent undercover as a German scientist
to Egypt to stop a neo-Nazi German scientist, Professor
Schlieben (George Sanders), who is working for the Egyptians and is
building a rocket with a nuclear device to blow-up Israel.
production was made at the height of
tensions between Israel and the
Arabs, which is perhaps why the film is so politically charged with
hatred for the Arabs. They are denigrated as a people who are so stupid
they need someone to rule them and someone to make weapons for them.
Also, Islam is portrayed as a hateful religion that despises America
even more than it does Israel. A year after this film was shot, Israel
and Egypt fought a war in 1967.
In Egypt, Mike Merrick poses as German
scientist Bauer and works in Professor
lab outside of Cairo, that's heavily guarded by Egyptian soldiers. Capt
Gabar (Yosef Yadin), of the
Egyptian police, is assigned to be the security officer in charge of
protecting the German scientist. German scientists are getting killed
and Israel is suspected of the assassinations. But it's actually
radical Moslems doing the bomb killings, who supposedly hate the
regimes of the Arab countries with dictators.
Mike is a busy guy, as he romances Professor
Schlieben's innocent pretty daughter Helga (Marianne Koch) and penetrates Schlieben's heavily guarded secret site and
thereby destroys the plans and
blueprints for the rocket after photographing them. Now detected as a
spy, to escape Mike kidnaps the professor's daughter and a submarine
takes her to Rome while Mike stays behind to finish his mission. The
idea is to get her dad to stop working for the Egyptians and reunite
with his beloved daughter in Rome. Meanwhile things suddenly get too
hot for Mike to remain in Egypt and he must escape in novel impossible
ways with Captain Gabar hot on his trail. When Mike outsmarts the
captain and reaches Rome, he's soon captured by the Egyptians with
Helga. To get Mike out of the country and back to Egypt, Gabar puts him
in a trunk that's delivered to the airport. This gives the film some
more time to show-off what a super-agent Mike is, even more daring than
Bond, as he escapes from the trunk and then rescues Helga from being
returned to Egypt. The professor finally gives up working for the
Egyptians and is glad to again be reunited with his daughter, and
grateful to Mike for the rescue.
Too bad the likable Audie is too stiff an
actor to remind one of the super cool Sean Connery.
REVIEWED ON 7/10/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ