File of the Golden Goose (1969)
This typically plotted story of an agent infiltrating a gang of cut throats had been done before in films like White Heat and afterwards as recently as The Departed. Might I add much better. But then again neither of those films or countless others had the Yul Brynner factor.
Actor – director Sam Wanamaker is our man behind the camera for this tale of two agents infiltrating a counterfeiting operation in England. Yul Brynner is sent over by U.S. authorities and is partnered with Scotland Yard’s Edward Woodward to go underground and follow the trail to the ring leader of the operation. Along the way Woodward gets to play nice while Yul acts the quick tempered thug who isn’t above using a gun or muscle to get his point across. Kind of a good thug bad thug scenario as opposed to the usual police procedure cinema goers have become accustomed to.
Yul and Woodward don’t necessarily get along as partners due to the fact that Yul has no time for a “real” life while Woodward goes home to his wife and kids at night. Yul believes that is a liability that could cost both of them their lives as they get deeper into the underworld and make headway in the counterfeiting ring. Woodward isn’t a fan of firearms while Yul points out, “I never go hunting without a gun.”
For the sake of the operation they go separate ways leaving Woodward in the gang and Yul as the outcast. Enter Charles Gray as someone of interest that Yul forms an uneasy alliance with leading him back into the underworld and at odds with Woodward. Is it real or a put on for Gray and company? With some help from the head office, Yul has some metal plates for trade and wants a percentage to produce top grade American dollars.
If our two agents can find there way to the ring leader without being found out they just might accomplish their mission still standing.
This is a passable piece of entertainment that had me slightly worried in the films opening scene that came off as amateurish when giving Yul a love interest and her subsequent death as the result of a bullet meant for him. The dialogue was stilted and on top of that there is the use of a narrator at times which I generally have a problem with in most any film.
Sam Wanamaker would reunite with Yul Brynner in 1971 directing the western Catlow and continue to move back and forth in front of and behind the camera. He actually appeared in the superior spy film opposite Richard Burton The Spy Who Came in From The Cold in 1965. Too bad he couldn’t have channeled the spirit of that film into this so so film featuring undercover agents.
Aside from Westworld, Yul’s glory days on film were past by this time and he would mainly focus on his stage character The King of Siam till his untimely death.
For those interested in this one I found it on youtube and gave it a go as it’s one of only a small handful of films I hadn’t yet seen with Mr. Brynner.