Refracted Input

Clare O’Farrell’s blog on books, TV, films, Michel Foucault, universities etc. etc.

My rating: ****
Imdb link

This is one of my favourite World War II spy dramas starring William Holden as a Swedish industrialist coerced into spying for the British during World War II. The film is a fictionalised account of the exploits of a war-time spy Erik Erickson. Holden’s character Erickson is very much on his own during the entire film with brief encounters here and there with others engaged in the underground resistance. He initially has to create a cover in Sweden as a dedicated anti-semitic Nazi sympathiser which loses him both his friends and his wife, although one friend – a Jew remains unconvinced by this sudden change of personality. When things go wrong on one of his missions he has to escape from Germany back to Scandinavia. The approach is cool and unsentimental with people getting on with the job under extremely dangerous circumstances.

Although I am not usually keen on Holden’s work, he is well cast in this film and gives a low-key unsentimental performance. Something that has also really stayed with me, since seeing the film for the first time a few years ago, is Klaus Kinski’s performance as a Jew on the run suffering from pneumonia who suffocates himself rather than cough and betray himself and his companion while hiding on a boat during a Nazi search.

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