Friday, October 19, 2018

CELEBRATING DOLORES HART: The Virginian, The Mountain of the Sun (1963)


Virginie is celebrating the 80th birthday of Dolores Hart on October 20th with a blogathon running on October 18th to the 20th at her site, The Wonderful World of Cinema. Click HERE to read all of the contributions.

THE VIRGINIAN: THE MOUNTAIN OF THE SUN 



The Virginian ran on NBC from 1962 to 1971 with a unique 90-minute format following the adventures of the characters working on the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming. Cast members changed through the run of the series with the constant being James Drury as Owen Wister's famous man with no name, The Virginian and Doug McClure as top hand Trampas.

The Mountain of the Sun is an episode which aired near the end of the first season on April 17, 1963. It was in this year that guest star Dolores Hart entered the Benedictine Regina Laudis Monastery beginning her vocation as a nun. The episode was written by Harry Kleiner (Carmen Jones) based on a story by Lou Morheim (The Big Valley) and directed by Bernard McEveety (Gunsmoke).

The Virginian is far from Shiloh with two goals in mind. First, he is to deliver a bull purchased from Shiloh by a local rancher. Second, he is looking for a man named Dixon played by George Wallace (The Edge of Night). The cowboy had been briefly employed at Shiloh and left the ranch after stealing money and keepsakes from his co-workers.

Dolores Hart

On board the train to the rough border town of San Pablo The Virginian becomes acquainted with three widows Cathy Maywood played by Dolores Hart (Lonelyhearts, Francis of Assisi), Helen Dyer played by Jeanette Nolan (Dirty Sally, The Big Heat) and Ruth Arlen played by Amzie Strickland (The Andy Griffith Show, Kotch).

Jeanette Nolan, Amzie Strickland

The women are missionaries whose calling is taking them into dangerous territory to deal with an even more dangerous Yaqui tribe.

George Wallace, James Drury

The women find a guide to take them to the Yaquis, but he is the thief, Dixon. The Virginian, hearing of the dubious guide trails the travelers to discover that Dixon has robbed and stranded the women. Dixon also attempts to murder the Virginian when caught. It is Dixon who is left dead as The Virginian continues on to rescue the three missionaries.

James Drury

The Virginian feels an obligation to protect these sheltered easterners. If possible, he hopes to dissuade them from their plans. His entreaties fall on deaf ears and he then attempts to frighten them by describing the horrific details of the deaths of the previous three missionaries who came this way, unaware that the women are following in the footsteps of their husbands.

Amzie Strickland, Jeanette Nolan, Dolores Hart

The Virginian agrees only to take the women to a fort where perhaps the military will take over their protection. Along their journey, they come across some peasants whose friends and family have been massacred by the Yaquis. The Virginian is moved by the kindness shown to the people and their young, traumatized daughter by his new companions. His concern for these women grows deeper as does his romantic feeling for Cathy.

James Drury, Dolores Hart

The Virginian's feelings are not one-sided. After a run-in with Mexican bandits, Cathy freely admits that she returns the Virginian's love. However, she is deeply conflicted because of her calling. Although her friends try to absolve her from any feelings of guilty should she decide to return to a life with the Virginian, Cathy has great difficulty making an honest decision.

Dolores Hart

Cathy spends a night in prayer which does not bring the answer that was the Virginian's hope.

Even when the Mexican military authorities refuse to accompany the women to the stronghold of the Yaquis, the missionaries are stalwart in their plan. The Virginian cannot let them go alone and together they ride into the danger zone.

Rodolfo Acosta, Jeanette Nolan, Amzie Strickland, Dolores Hart

Rodolfo Acosta plays the leader of the Yaquis and when he hears that these women are the widows of the men he had killed he is impressed with their bravery and their honesty. Perhaps these people with their bibles and their medicines have truly come to help his people. While the Virginian is held captive, the women spend the night helping a sick child. The tribe is impressed and release the Virginian while allowing the women to stay and do the work to which they are so committed.

Dolores Hart, James Drury

The Virginian and Cathy part with the gift of a bible and "Vaya con Dios." They will remain in each other's hearts.

Dolores Hart

Cathy watches the Virginian ride out of her life. Audiences bid farewell to Dolores Hart who was entering a new life.



Trivia:


Jeanette Nolan who played Helen Dyer in this episode would return to the series from 1967 to 1970 with real-life husband John McIntire as owners of the Shiloh Ranch, Holly, and Clay Grainger.












Wednesday, October 17, 2018

THE RITA HAYWORTH IS 100! BLOGATHON: Separate Tables (1958)


Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting this loving blogathon tribute to Rita Hayworth on the occasion of her centenary, October 17, 2018.


Click HERE for the contributions collected from October 17th to the 19th.

Two one-act plays by Terence Rattigan (The Winslow Boy), Table by the Window and Table Number Seven, are commonly presented under the title Separate Tables. As written, the two main characters are played by the same male and female actors, while the background guests and staff at the setting of the Beauregard Private Hotel remain the same.

The play had its premiere in 1954 and Rattigan adapted it for the screen with John Gay in 1958 for Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions (Harold Hecht, James Hill, Burt Lancaster). Hecht-Lancaster was formed in 1948 with writer Hill joining the company in 1954. New characters and incidents were created to blend the stories into a seamless film.

Rehearsal
Rita Hayworth, Burt Lancaster, Ben Hecht, Wendy Hiller
Daniel Mann, David Niven, Deborah Kerr

Daniel Mann (Come Back, Little Sheba) directed the acclaimed and multi-award winning film. The Academy nominated the movie for seven awards, and its two wins were for lead actor David Niven and supporting actress Wendy Hiller.

HOTEL BEAUREGARD

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND

Three Minutes from the Sea

Fine Cuisine

Separate Tables

The permanent residents and temporary guests at the Hotel Beauregard present a microcosm of the difficulties to be found, and sometimes to be nurtured in human relations. People are not easy.

Deborah Kerr, Gladys Cooper

Top-billed Deborah Kerr plays Sibyl Railton-Bell, a young woman of a repressed and awkward nature exacerbated by a domineering mother played by Gladys Cooper. Sibyl's fondness for fellow resident Major Angus Pollock played by David Niven is an embarrassment to her mother.

David Niven

Major Pollock is obviously from a lower class, as well as being an annoying boaster. The Major is a man with his own secrets and shame. Those secrets and shame will be pivotal to events which unfold at the hotel over the course of the following day.

Rita Hayworth, Wendy Hiller

Rita Hayworth plays Ann Shankland, a wealthy and glamorous socialite. The residents of the Beauregard instinctively know that she is not the type to come to this hotel. The proprietress of the Beauregard, Pat Cooper played by Wendy Hiller accepts Ann's arrival almost as something expected.

Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth

Ann is the ex-wife of long-time resident John Malcolm played by Burt Lancaster. John is a semi-successful writer, something of a drunkard, and a veteran of a literal war and a marital war. His relationship with Ann was fraught with misunderstandings and manipulation which led to violence and prison.

John's relationship with Pat includes a secret engagement. Although when one half of the engagement feels compelled to confirm with the other that the engagement is real, and not merely the result of a late night and too much whisky, it doesn't seem very solid. People are not easy.

Rita Hayworth is second-billed in the role of Ann which was originally slated for Vivien Leigh. Disagreements between the first director Laurence Olivier and producer Lancaster led to the Oliviers leaving the project. Rita at this time was married to co-producer James Hill. It was to be her final marriage and lasted only three years. It was Hill's only try at matrimony. Sadly, Rita was soon to be beset with the undiagnosed early-onset Alzheimer's which would plague her final years.

Miss Hayworth's gowns by Edith Head

Ann is a character which showcases Rita's years of acting experience in a role which required subtlety and range. Upon meeting the character we see her confidence in her status and beauty. Her confrontations with John show her manipulative and brittle nature. Ann's unabashed sympathy and kindness toward Sibyl show us a vulnerable core. When Ann and John finally share honestly and we are voyeurs to Ann's fear for the loss of her health and beauty, and her innate loneliness, we see a soul unbarred. Ann and John have unfinished business and whether their relationship will be good for them or not, for now, it must be pursued.

Audrey Dalton, Rod Taylor

An antidote to all of the drama at the Beauregard concerns a young couple played by Rod Taylor and Audrey Dalton whose separate rooms are not fooling anyone. He is a medical student who is under the impression that they are engaged. She is a young woman with liberal ideas concerning the institution of marriage who wants to live! By the end of their sojourn by the sea, she is comically and ironically setting a wedding date and dictating the number of future children. Bonus interview with Audrey Dalton at the Classic Film and TV Cafe.

Felix Aylmer, May Hallatt

Rounding out the ensemble are Cathleen Nesbitt as the kindly Lady Matheson, Felix Aylmer as a retired teacher named Fowler, and May Hallatt recreating her Broadway role as the blunt Miss Meacham. Miss Meacham candidly admits that she lives at the Beauregard because she is the alone type, self-sufficient. "People have always scared me a bit you see. They're so complicated. I suppose that's why I prefer horses."

David Niven, May Hallatt, Gladys Cooper, Deborah Kerr
Rita Hayworth, Cathleen Nesbitt, Burt Lancaster

Nonetheless, Miss Meacham, Mr. Fowler, Lady Matheson, and everyone excluding Mrs. Railton-Bell prove themselves to be willing and capable of kindness and forgiveness with a gesture small in action and great in impact that ends our visit to the Beauregard Hotel.












Sunday, October 14, 2018

THE NEIL SIMON BLOGATHON CONTINUES



It is time for the party! The Neil Simon Blogathon began here with Rich at Wide Screen World.

Wide Screen World, Brighton Beach Memoirs

Caftan Woman, You'll Never Get Rich aka The Phil Silvers Show

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films, California Suite

The Stop Button, The Cheap Detective

Poppity Talks Classic Film, Seems Like Old Times

Once Upon a Screen, The Prisoner of Second Avenue

Movie Rob, The Heartbreak Kid



The Neil Simon Blogathon continues here with Paddy at Caftan Woman.

Classic Film and TV Cafe, Seven Things to Know About Neil Simon

Movie Rob, Only When I Laugh

Moon in Gemini, The Heartbreak Kid

Critica Retro, The Odd Couple



Thank you to everyone who shared your new and old favourites, and your love for Neil Simon. You made the blogathon a wonderful and enlightening experience. 










Saturday, October 13, 2018

THE NEIL SIMON BLOGATHON: You'll Never Get Rich aka The Phil Silvers Show (1955-1959)


Welcome to The Neil Simon Blogathon, a two-day internet event.

Saturday, October 13th please join the creator and co-host of the blogathon, Rich at Wide Screen World by clicking HERE

Sunday, October 14th Caftan Woman hosts the festivities HERE.



The lady who sat to my left in the second row of the Neil Simon Theatre in the summer of 1985 and I were never introduced. Nonetheless, I consider her a friend. We enjoyed the evening's performance of Biloxi Blues immensely and more than our companions on either side of us. We chortled and guffawed and collapsed on each other. We looked to each other with those knowing looks one has when one knows the upcoming joke was meant for us.

Raised on "Bilko" and McHale's Navy by a dad who sometimes would say that if he had it to do over he would have stayed in the Army (Canadian), Service comedies know how to work on my laugh muscles. There is a direct line from those television classics to Biloxi Blues, and that line is called Neil Simon.

Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights do not suddenly appear, they start somewhere. In Neil Simon's case, he followed his brother Danny into the world of writing comedy for radio and television, most notably Your Show of Shows.


Another comedy genius, Nat Hiken created You'll Never Get Rich, later called The Phil Silvers Show (1955-1959). Have you ever heard anyone refer to the program by that title? In our house, it was always "Bilko". Hiken was notorious for being able to do everything and wanting to do everything on his shows, but with 143 episodes, you've got to give some other writers a chance. Neil Simon worked on 20 episodes for seasons 3 and 4 of the series. Here are two of the classic tv gems about that perpetual schemer, Ernie Bilko.



BILKO PRESENTS KAY KENDALL
January 17, 1958
Writers: Nat Hiken, Neil Simon, Terry Ryan
Director: Al De Caprio

Phil Silvers, Kay Kendall

Kay Kendall (Genevieve, Simon and Laura, The Reluctant Debutante) and her publicist played by Dan Frazier (Lilies of the Field, As the World Turns, Kojak) are touring the country promoting her latest picture; probably Les Girls as George Cukor's name comes up in the script.

Kay is having a great time meeting fans and visiting vibrant American cities. Next up is Roseville (Roseville?) in Kansas. It is next to Fort Baxter and Kay loves to meet fans from the military.

M/Sgt. Ernest Bilko's latest money-making scheme involved producing a show that is a tribute to the works of Stephen Foster. Well, the songs are Stephen Foster but the costumes and the dancing girls are strictly Burlesque. When Colonel Hall (Paul Ford) gets wind of the plan, then the jig is up; at least on the base.

Allan Melvin, Phil Silvers, Harvey Lembeck

The gang heads to town looking for a theatre with no luck. One manager bemoans the days when Barrymore, John played Hamlet to a full house and will have nothing to do with Burlesque. In the local hotel, the presence of Kay Kendall is discovered and Ernie has a plan. Bilko, Cpls. Barbarella (Harvey Lembeck) and Henshaw (Allan Melvin) put on the phoniest of phony British accents and barge in on Kay Kendall.

Our star is not fooled for an instant but finds the whole thing so funny and Bilko such a "gasser" that she plays along. Bilko tells her there will be a small gathering of like-minded folk who sit around reading Shakespeare and she agrees to join them the next night.

When she discovers that Bilko has filled the house at $10 a ticket Kay is determined that the money must be returned and feigns drunkenness at show time forcing Ernie to issue the refund. After that is done, she shows up on stage as her sober self and the show goes on. Sgt. Bilko presents a fine evening's entertainment, but it puts nothing in his pocket.

Surprise of the episode: Kay Kendall always could play the funniest drunk, but who knew she could do a spot-on impersonation of Phil Silver's unintelligible command shout?


BILKO'S VACATION
May 23, 1958
Writers: Nat Hiken, Terry Ryan, Neil Simon
Director: Al De Caprio

Fred Stewart, Paul Ford

At the motor pool, Ernie Bilko has found himself dangerously close to doing actual, honest-to-gosh work. He needs a vacation but he's always taken a number of those this year so the chances of another furlough coming his way are rare.

The camp doctor advises a nervous Colonel Hall to give himself a two-week furlough. It is important for his health that he spends time away from Bilko. Colonel Hall is reluctant to give himself a break and leaving Bilko unsupervised. The doctor suggests giving Bilko and his entire team a vacation as well. It is done.


Bilko, Barbella, and Henshaw see themselves at Dimmeldorf Lodge but are without funds. Ernie makes a deal with Dimmeldorf that they will stock the Lodge with guests in return for board. Most of the soldiers are tricked into choosing Dimmeldorf for their vacation spot when Ernie puts the camp on a made up list of places the Army wants their men to avoid. Well, if the Army is against it, that is where they want to go.

Corporal Fender (Herbie Faye) is persuaded to forego a second honeymoon to Atlantic City with the promise of a "beautiful child" contest at the Lodge sponsored by a cereal company with a $10,000 prize. The Fenders have six kids and they'll fill up the Lodge nicely.

Paul Ford, Hope Sansberry

Colonel Hall and his wife Nell (Hope Sansberry) are also going to Dimmeldorf Lodge. The Colonel didn't want to go to any place where Bilko might find him, so he chooses the place with the smallest ad in the newspaper. Everyone is angry that their vacation is ruined by the presence of Sgt. Bilko and, in his greatest moment, Colonel Hall turns the tables on the con man.

Mrs. Hall: "Are you going to order Sgt. Bilko back to the post, John?"
Col. Hall: "No. He'd find a way to get out of that. Nell, I'm going to think like Bilko. You don't live with a magician for ten years without learning a few tricks."
Mrs. Hall: "What are you going to do, John?"
Col. Hall: "I'm going to send myself a wire and when Bilko gets it he'll scoot right back to the post."
Mrs. Hall: "How will Sgt. Bilko get your telegram?"
Col. Hall: "Nell, Bilko always gets my telegrams before I do."

The telegram in question is purportedly from MGM studios stating that the base will be used for exterior shots for an upcoming film. With stars in his eyes, Bilko drags Barbarella and Henshaw back with him to Fort Baxter leaving all and sundry to relax and enjoy their furlough without worry of losing their money in another Bilko run poker or crap game or have a nervous breakdown.



During this period Neil Simon wrote sketches for the Broadway revue shows Catch a Star! and New Faces of 1956. In 1961 he had his first Broadway hit, Come Blow Your Horn and it would be followed by many great successes and awards. We are the lucky recipients of immeasurable entertainment, laughter, and tears from the great Neil Simon.












Monday, October 8, 2018

A WORTHY OCTOBER VILLAIN: Dirk Bogarde in Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)


Janet Green's original play Murder Mistaken had a brief Broadway run under the title Gently Does It in 1953. The play became the film thriller Cast a Dark Shadow in 1955, and in 1956 the film lead, Margaret Lockwood reprised the role of Frieda Jeffries in a television production.

Dirk Bogarde

Dirk Bogarde stars as Edward "Teddy" Bare, a man whose only saleable commodity is an ability to charm. His charm is not sincere, but certain types are willing to overlook that aspect of Teddy's personality. Teddy is also vain and lazy. He has no empathy or sympathy. Teddy is a deeply troubled psychopath.

 Mona Washbourne, Dirk Bogarde

Mona Washbourne is Monica Bare, Teddy's wife of one year. "Monie" loves taking care of her "Teddy Bear", and he loves being taken care of. No observer could ever say that he isn't an attentive and caring husband. Why, he's even gotten Monie to the point where she doesn't drink her tea without a little nip of something extra. 

Dick Bogarde, Mona Washbourne

However, a tipsy Monie reveals to Teddy that upon the morrow she will be signing a will. He was under the impression that there was no will and that he would naturally inherit as next of kin. What Edward doesn't realize is that there is a will in which he gets the house while the cash assets go to Mrs. Bare's sister. Monie intends to sign an amended will leaving her money to "Teddy Bear". Foolish Edward believes he will be cut out by the new will, and he determines to keep his wife from signing the document.

Robert Flemyng, Kathleen Harrison, Dirk Bogarde

"Madame" was found face down by the open gas fireplace by the trusting housemaid Emmie played by Kathleen Harrison. The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Master was so helpful with Emmie's testimony, going over it with her so she wouldn't be nervous. Master is also very helpful with the 200-pound bequest for Emmy, cheating her out of her money.

Robert Flemyng plays Philip Mortimer, Mrs. Bare's attorney who is suspicious of every move made by Edward. He takes great delight in stating that the inquest can be reopened at any time when evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered. Mortimer is also rather pleased to relate the details of Mrs. Bare's current will to her grieving husband. 

Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Lockwood

Edward is touched that dear Monie was thinking of him, but he made a mistake and there is nothing for him to do now but to go out and find someone else to finance the lifestyle to which he chooses to become accustomed. A return to the seaside resort that had proved so lucky for him in the past brings Edward into the orbit of a well-off widow, Frieda Jeffries played by Margaret Lockwood. She ran her husband's pub for years and now benefits from a lucky turn in business and Albert's demise. Frieda doesn't have any or many delusions where Edward is concerned, but she does think he is at least her equal when it comes to money in the bank and they are in this thing pound for pound. Frieda expects to retain her independence while gaining the companionship of the charmer.

Dirk Bogarde

Edward is dismayed to find he can't get Frieda to invest in one of his bogus real estate schemes. This marriage certainly doesn't echo his earlier one. He needs another plan or another pigeon. Edward often confides in the spirit of the late Monie of his troubles, declaring that she would not approve of the loud and frank Frieda. "This one is crude." Of course, we understand Edward's definition of crude. He is not her coddled "Teddy Bear". Frieda's husband is "Ed" and he is expected to pull his weight.

Margaret Lockwood, Kay Walsh

Kay Walsh plays Charlotte Young who makes the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Bare. She has recently come into some money and is looking to invest in an estate to use as a school. Frieda wants Ed to stay away from her money, so she doesn't really care if he fleeces Miss Young. Nonetheless, even the confident Frieda begins to get testy about the amount of time Edward and Charlotte spend together.

Charlotte Young, however, is not as she presents herself. This rich and personable woman who begins to make a play for Edward is Monie's younger sister Dora. She and Philip Mortimer are working to unmask the soulless Edward.

Dirk Bogarde

Foolish and impulsive this murderer may be, but Edward knows what he is about. Something is off with Charlotte. He knows who he appeals to, and she is not that sort of woman. Edward manipulates Frieda and Emmy out of the house when he senses the world is closing in. Edward finds comfort in Monie's room, among her things, sharing plans for his latest murder.

Dirk Bogarde, Kay Walsh

Edward underestimates the strength and cunning of his adversary. The big, empty and dark house is a setting for a bravura scene. The volley of accusations and fear between the two characters and actors is intense.

Margaret Lockwood, Dirk Bogarde

Is Frieda's return to the house a help in the furtherance of murder or justice?

Cast a Dark Shadow is an engrossing thriller with wonderful performances. The reveals are leisurely, but the pace never feels slow. Director Lewis Gilbert was an Oscar nominee for Alfie, a BAFTA winner for Educating Rita, and BAFTA nominee for Reach for the Sky, Alfie, and Shirley Valentine.

Margaret Lockwood was nominated for a BAFTA in the category of Best Britsh Actress for the role of Frieda. The winner was Katie Johnson in The Ladykillers. Frieda is honest and loud, caring and tough. She thinks she has the upper hand, but she has married a disturbed and dangerous man.

Dirk Bogarde is masterful as Teddy Bare, adding a great film villain to his filmography during the same period in which he played the appealing Jose in The Spanish Gardener, and returned to the earnest Simon Sparrow in Doctor at Sea.












Friday, October 5, 2018

THE JAMES MASON BLOGATHON: 5 Fingers (1952)


The James Mason Blogathon hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Movies runs on October 5th and 6th. Click HERE for the tributes to the revered actor.

Based on a true story, the spy drama could easily fall into the category of the post-war film-noir docudramas, but as it was directed by and was co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Michael Wilson (Bridge on the River Kwai), it features a lot of wry humour that sets it apart.

The book Operation Cicero written by L.C. Moyzisch to explain his view of his role in the war following the Nuremberg Trials and his tale of the machinations of a British Spy was a sensation. From the point of view of the 21st century, WW2 seems so cut and dried as to "good guys" and "bad guys", but people are never that easy.

James Mason, Oskar Karlweis

Our spy in 5 Fingers is called Ulysses Diello and he is played by James Mason (Odd Man Out). Diello is an Albanian national and a very ambitious valet in the service of the British Ambassador played by Walter Hampden (All About Eve). They are stationed at the Embassy in neutral Turkey's capital, Ankara. It is a place where enemies can meet under the supposed flag of truce.

Diello aspires to move up from a gentleman's gentleman to becoming a gentleman. Requiring the wherewithal, he sees his opportunity in the classified information which passes through the Ambassador's office. Anonymously he reaches out to Moyzisch of the German Embassy, played by Oskar Karlweis (The Juggler) with a proposition. Diello will provide top secret or highly confidential information to the Germans in exchange for cash. Moyzisch passes this plan unto his superiors and the deal is set. The British spy is given the code name of Cicero.

Diello has a specific and unique attitude toward the term spy as he is in this game purely for the money. He doesn't even look closely at the documents he photographs for sale, only checking for the top secret or confidential classification.

"Spies are notoriously bad businessmen. Most of them are professional patriots, frustrated liberals or victims of blackmail. And in all such cases, the emotional involvement weakens their bargaining position and destroys sound business judgements."

Moyzisch fell for Diello's act and when asked his impression of this contact by the German Ambassador related the following:

"Well, sir, I'd pick him to be a highly trained special agent; a foreign office career man. British, of course. An Oxford-bred aristocrat if ever I saw one. You know the type, sir. Arrogant, spoiled, cynical and completely decadent."


Danielle Darrieux

Diello had previously been in the employ of the Count and Countess Staviska of Poland and the widowed Countess Anna played by Danielle Darrieux (The Earrings of Madame De...)is now in Ankara as the Nazis have taken her fortune. For Diello, Anna represents everything that was gracious about the old days. He uses his newfound wealth to set her up as she would like to remain accustomed. They plan to use forged papers to move to South America when they have accumulated the proper amount of money.

Diello should have paid more attention to his own opinion on emotional weakness combined with business. His tender feelings toward Countess Anna prove unfounded as the Countess absconds with Diello's ill-gotten gain to the safety of Switzerland.

Michael Rennie

Meanwhile, British Intelligence has twigged to the loss of their secrets and Colin Travers played by Michael Rennie (The Day the Earth Stood Still) is sent to investigate the situation at the Embassy. The timing could not be worse for Diello. Having to begin his bankroll again from scratch he has taken a particular assignment from the Germans. They are concerned about the prevalence in previous documents of the code name "Overlord" and want more information. Diello has no compunction in providing what is demanded as long as the money meets his demand.

Diello explains his attitude toward the commodity in which he deals, despite certainty that the Germans will lose the war which is why he deals only in British pounds.

"Firstly, I cannot sell you the ability to make proper use of the information I got for you. Secondly, by informing a man about to be hanged of the exact size, location and strength of the rope you do not remove the hangman or the certainty of his being hanged." 

Forced to rush this last job for the Germans (for the money), it is seemingly inconsequential events which bring Diello's treachery to light. The Germans want the information and the man. The British want to keep him out of German hands. The chase is on!


Exterior shots for 5 Fingers were filmed in Turkey and it lends a genuine excitement to the chase and reminder that the events depicted in the movie are based on facts which occurred not that very long ago.

You can well imagine the talented James Mason combining with the literate and witty script creating a slick and fascinating performance as Diello. The audience cannot help but admire his bravado and root for his success, yet still understand his selfishness so well that we delight in his eventual and ironic downfall. You can't trust anyone!


Trivia:

A 1956 television episode of 20th Century Fox Hour called Operation Cicero starred Ricardo Montalban as our spy. David Hedison played Cicero in 5 Fingers, a 1959 mini-series.












CELEBRATING DOLORES HART: The Virginian, The Mountain of the Sun (1963)

Virginie is celebrating the 80th birthday of Dolores Hart on October 20th with a blogathon running on October 18th to the 20th at her si...