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Triple Cross (1966)  rating

Review: written 2006

Spy movie more about bravado than spy-work

This is an exuberant movie telling the allegedly true story of Eddie Chapman, a safecracker who was in jail in Jersey at the time of the German invasion. He managed to sell his services to the Germans first of all as a spy, then to the British as a double agent - each time for larger monetary gains.

Terence Young (director of the earlier, wittier, Sean Connery Bond movies) delves little into the spying, and much more into the attitude and lifestyle of a completely immoral and yet thoroughly charismatic man, played to perfection by Christopher Plummer. Here is a man to whom the adrenalin rush of getting the most cash and most beautiful women is what makes life worthwhile - patriotism is nowhere in sight. And yet, we can't help liking him and rooting for him. While perhaps not the best film Plummer was in, it may be his best performance.

The German spymaster is played by Yul Brynner, who in a sub plot becomes involved in the Night of the Long Knives plot. His associates are Colonel Steinhager (played by Gert Frobe - Goldfinger himself) an ex policeman turned military man who inherently distrusts Chapman while admiring him at the same time, and Romy Schneider, most well known for `What's new, pussycat'. Once Brynner has trained him, and he has seduced (or other way round..?) Romy Schneider, he manages to squeeze in a romantic attachment to Claudine Auger, the ex Miss France who starred as Domino in `Thunderball', before hopping back to Blighty.

The British spymaster is played with fantastic droll attitude by Trevor Howard, who manages his own minor deception back on Chapman.

The movie recreates the atmosphere of the time, and the rarefied lifestyle of spies, but alas little of the real tension or suspense inherent in the story. However, while not a comedy, the same light heartedness and style of the early Bond movies makes this an entertaining way to spend 2 hours - recommended, with reservations.

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