A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
Professor Michael Armstrong is heading to Copenhagen to attend a physics conference accompanied by his assistant-fiancée Sarah Sherman. Once arrived however, Michael informs her that he may be staying for awhile and she should return home. She follows him and realizes he's actually heading to East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. She follows him there and is shocked when he announces that he's defecting to the East after the US government canceled his research project. In fact, Michael is there to obtain information from a renowned East German scientist. Once the information is obtained, he and Sarah now have to make their way back to the West. Written by
In conversation with François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock said that he included the fight scene deliberately to show the audience how difficult it can be to kill a man, because a number of spy thrillers at the time made killing look effortless. See more »
The message Professor Armstrong writes out in the bathroom stall, "Contact Pi . . . " does not match up with the letters underlined on p. 107 of the book, the source of the coded message. See more »
Professor Karl Manfred:
Are they ever going to get the heating fixed?
They are working at it, Professor. Perhaps some of you scientists would like to give us a helping hand!
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A cold war thriller, although it's more 'a Hitchcock' by virtue of its technical assembly. It's also an extraordinary film for having Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, two huge stars of the time, playing against their and the director's type. Newman's understated, glowering masculinity is less suited for the director's auteuristic approach; I don't believe him as a nuclear physicist either. Andrews is too composed and sharp-witted for the co-heroine. However, both do a fine job, Newman as the action-man-on-the-run and Andrews as absorbing the chain of events into which she is thrown.
The film is a must see for those interested in the construction of a thriller upon the Hitchcock template. Techniques going out of fashion in the 50s are still employed as well as some unwitting novelties - the ballerina recognition sequence is extraordinary. Could have done without the superfluous bus-chase sequence though. 6/10
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