Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Monday, 12 August 2013
Forgotten '60s movies: The Defector
THE DEFECTOR, 1966. A dull ‘60s spy story, only of interest now as the last film by Montgomery Clift – what a dismal experience it is. Seeing the frail Clift next to the sturdy Hardy Kruger shows us how ill he must have been, compared to how he looked in the '50s (or even in WILD RIVER or THE MISFITS); he died the next year and going by how he looks here would have been in no shape for another tough Huston shoot (on REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE) - See Brando label for review of that.
The mid-60s had some terrific thrillers on spies and spying: THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM, THE DEADLY AFFAIR, Hitch’s TORN CURTAIN and flashy spoofs like MODESTY BLAISE, but THE DEFECTOR is just dull, dull, dull as we follow Clift around some modest East European sites (meant to be Leipzig) as the secret services seem interested in his movements. It all makes no sense and is hardly worth unravelling. Kruger, Roddy McDowall, David Opatoshu and Macha Meril (Godard’s UNE FEMME MARIEE) as the nurse/romantic interest do their best.
Watching Clift in a long scene with McDowall one suddenly wonders if Monty is actually paying attention and in the moment as he seems totally distracted. Monica Vitti was originally cast as the nurse, which would have been an interesting teaming with Clift. Produced and directed by Raoul Levy, who committed suicide shortly afterwards, (he had produced the Vadim Bardot films among others) … the photography by Raoul Coutard makes it look good, and I am sure that was Jean-Luc Godard seen for a moment in the office ….
More forgotten '60s soon: LES GODELUREAUX, THE 10TH VICTIM, DEAR BRIGITTE, MICHAEL KOHLHASS ...