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Um Null Uhr schnappt die Falle zu
Valstrik om Middernacht

West Germany/France 1965
produced by
Heinz Willeg for Allianz Filmproduktion, Constantin Film, Prodex
directed by Harald Philipp
starring George Nader, Horst Frank, Heinz Weiss, Dominique Wilms, Monika Grimm, Gert Günther Hoffmann, Friedrich G. Beckhaus, Richard Münch, Allen Pinson, Alexander Allerson, Helga Schlack, Ricky Cooper, Werner Abrolat, Nadie Ragoo, Ingrid Capelle, Sigfrit Steiner, Georg Lehn, Harald Dietl
written by Fred Denger, Kurt Nachmann, based on characters from the magazine series G-Man Jerry Cotton published by Bastei Lübbe, music by Peter Thomas

Jerry Cotton, Jerry Cotton (George Nader)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Actually, all what small-time crook Lew Hatton (Gert Günther Hoffmann) wanted to steal was an empty nitro-glycerine-truck, but accidently he steals one loaded with explosives. So he hides the nitro glycerine away on a construction site and uses the empty truck to rob a jeweller with his partner Maureen (Dominique Wilms) ... thing is, nitroglycerine is highly explosive, and FBI-agent Jerry Cotton (George Nader), his partner Phil Dekker (Heinz Weiss) and their boss Mr High (Richard Münch) know it's a mere two days before it goes off all on its own, taking large parts of Manhattan with it ...

Soon enough, Cotton and co have caught up with Lew Hatton too, but that's where the problems start because his lovely partner Maureen has meanwhile defected to gangster boss Larry Link (Horst Frank) and told him where the nitro is ... and Link is someone who thinks big, so before long he blackmails the FBI into paying him 5 million Dollars otherwise Manhattan's a goner. Soonenough, Jerry is on Link's trail too, which leads to all sorts of chases, fistfights, shootouts and a rather impressive fight on and under the Manhattan bridge. Ultimately though, the FBI is forced to pay up, but Jerry is clever enough to place a radio transmitter in the bag containing the money, to be able to catch up with link and company ... about which Link is furious when he finds it out, and now he wants to blow up the city or at least Central Station nevertheless - which Jerry can prevent only in the very last second (almost literally) ...

 

When you film a movie that's supposed to take place in America in Germany with predominately German actors, there are always several shortcomings you have to contend with, like having to rely on backprojections way too much to convince the audience the action is actually taking place in Manhattan, an overuse of stock-footage that might at times get tiring, and most of the actors - even in small parts - being way too familiar from other German movies (like the Edgar Wallace series of films where the same actors pretend to be British) to convince as Yankees.

That all said though, Um Null Uhr schnappt die Falle zu is a pretty decent crime-flick, fast-paced and full of action. Of course, the plot is pure pulp, some of the dialogue is nothing short of ridiculous, and especially from today's point of view, George Nader's macho attitude seems a bit dated - but these are only minor letdowns in a totally entertaining and enjoyable film. Sure, it's no big arthouse flick ... but it never claimed to be either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD