Anytime you team Robert Mitchum with Stanley Baker under Robert Aldrich’s direction you have a formula for success. Or so it would seem.
This turns out to be rather unbelievable WW2 espionage film that sees Mitchum as a war journalist who happens to be given a list of names that the Nazi’s want. Enter Stanley Baker as the head man after Mitchum. With Mitchum on the run he is sheltered and finds time for love with Gia Scala. As with most cinematic war time romances, it’s short. While hanging out with Gia he gets involved briefly with the underground led by Kieron Moore that ends badly for both Moore and many men in the Greek town where Mitchum has been hiding.
Next up for our hero is hooking up with Elizabeth Mueller who is being coerced by Baker to lead “The Mitch” into his grasp. She can’t quite go through with it just yet and Mitch is about to turn the tables on Baker with the help of Sydney Greenstreet. Scratch that! It’s Sebastian Cabot in full Greenstreet mode.
It’s really unfortunate that a Mitchum – Baker showdown goes to waste in this rather dull film that obviously had script troubles based on what actually made it to the screen. With Aldrich’s association with tough guys throughout his directing career you would think that he and Mitchum would be perfectly matched to deliver a top notch flick. Then again one would think that John Huston and John Wayne would deliver a box office smash. Problem is they gave us The Barbarian and the Geisha.
As much as I am always singing the praise of Robert Mitchum it’s Stanley Baker who has the best role here. Not unusual when the villain’s character is way more interesting than the hero. Not that I mind as I am also a big supporter of Mr. Baker’s work. Here he is slick and menacing without ever really raising his voice and is resigned to the fate that he knows will eventually await him.
Overall the biggest problem is that the film seems to lose it’s way and never allows Mitchum much action which is what he is supposed to be. A man of action. Even more so when starring in an Aldrich flick. After all here’s a man who by this time had directed Vera Cruz, Apache and Kiss Me Deadly.
Alas, this ones strictly for Mitchum and Baker fans so quite naturally I had to check it out. Just expected a little more.