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Das Verrätertor

Traitor's Gate

West Germany / UK 1964
produced by
Horst Wendlandt, Ted Lloyd (executive) for Rialto, Summit
directed by Freddie Francis
starring Albert Lieven, Gary Raymond, Margot Trooger, Catherine Schell, Eddi Arent, Klaus Kinski, Anthony James, Tim Barratt, Heinz Bernard, David Birks, Edward Underdown, Alec Ross, Julie Mendez, Peter Porteous, Katy Wild, Harry Baird, Joe Ritchie, Frank Sieman, Frank Forsyth, Caron Gardner, Maurice Good, Robert Hunter, Marianne Stone, Hedger Wallace, Beresford Williams
screenplay by John Sansom (= Jimmy Sangster), based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Graham (Gary Raymond), a low level criminal, is sprung from Dartmoor by crime kingpin Trayne (Albert Lieven), just because he resembles the head of guards of the Tower, Dick (also Gary Raymond) to the t, and Trayne is desparate to get his hands on the Crown Jewels, which are kept in the Tower of course. The heist of course is meticulously planned, including where and why Graham is to replace Dick - that Trayne's secretary Hope (Catherine Schell), who's completely ignorant of the planned heist, is Dick's girlfriend, helps here. Preparations go really well but for one detail, Hector (Eddie Arent), a harmless tourist, witnesses Trayne's right-hand man Kane (Klaus Kinski) kill someone, and when Scotland Yard refuses to believe him, he decides to investigate on his own - as you do I guess. Also, during preparations, Graham falls in love with Trayne's right hand girl Dinah (Margot Trooger), and vice versa, and the two plan to get their hands on the main loot rather than the generous wage Trayne is paying Graham.

The heist goes pretty much without a hitch, and even too-curious-for-his-own-good can be gotten out of the way, but problems start when Graham and Dinah rob Trayne, Hope, who has at some point been made captive, manages to free herself and give Scotland Yard all the right pointers, then it turns out that there's a time bomb on the escape boat, and ... well, suffice to say, all the baddies get their just desserts, and all the goodies escape unscathed.

 

One of the very few Edgar Wallace adaptations by production house Rialto that was actually filmed on British soil, and with director Freddie Francis and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, both of Hammer fame, they also have a pretty decent team behind the camera - however, the film is not a more shining example of either Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle or the work of the two men. And I'm not saying it is a particularly bad movie, it's actually well-crafted and moves along nicely, and it is even a nice change from the typical murder mysteries the series tended to offer, but for a heist movie it's just too far-fetched and too convoluted to actually come across as real. And director Francis' talents as a man of atmosphere and powerful images are a bit under-used here. That said, it's still entertaining enough, especially with nostalgia glasses on, but not really memorable.

 

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written by
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