Marlon Brando plays a German pacifist who fled his country at the outbreak of the WWII,and is living in comfortable seclusion in India. The British authorities blackmail him into takinga mission. Assuming the identity of an SS officer, he must board a blockade runner (captainedby Yul Brynner) and disarm its scuttling charges so it can be captured by the Allies. Needlessto say, nothing works out quite as it should.
Even running over two hours, this is a taut thriller… cutting right to the chase and keepingsuspense cranked for most of its running length. Brando’s German accent takes some gettingused to, but he moves with grace and assurance, charismatically carrying the film. Some of theaction in the later stages of the film, especially that surrounding a Jewish prisoner, is a bit toooblique and confusing, but not enough to spoil and first-rate war thriller.
The sound comes in both mono and 2.0 stereo. The remix is typical of the War Classicsseries: an indiscriminate multiplying of the sound. Music, sound effects and dialogue all get thesurround treatment, whether the effect is appropriate or not. There is also some distortion on boththe music and the dialogue (though bear in mind the film is from 1965).
The shimmering, steely B&W photography is a sight to behold, and most of the time thetransfer serves it well. The image is crisp, sharp and free of edge enhancement problems. Thereis some flicker, however, and in some passages the print is badly damaged, disintegrating in amess of grain and flares (a scene about 71 minutes in is the worst case).
You have the teaser and the theatrical trailer, plus the trailers for Crash Dive, TheHunters and What Price Glory. The menu is basic.
This is a film that had previously slipped under my radar, but I’m glad to have caught it.Good, solid, sea war adventure.
Special Features List
- Trailers and Teaser