The Secret Ways

1961

Adventure / History / Mystery / Thriller

2
IMDb Rating 6 10 221

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 14, 2020 at 12:35 PM

Cast

Richard Widmark as Michael Reynolds
Senta Berger as Elsa
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.01 GB
1280*682
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
P/S 4 / 3
1.87 GB
1920*1024
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
P/S 1 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by krocheav 8 / 10

Interesting and Overlooked Espionage suspenser

Here is a film with several overlooked firsts.

1. First major film score for John Williams --at the time of writing, not even IMDb have this work on their listing of his filmography!-- yet it remains one of his strongest, most flavorful early scores. Whoever arranged and orchestrated this work with its grinding bass cello riffs and stabbing violins, they've managed to infuse an air of dark intrigue. This is then complemented with a broad melodic french horn main theme that begins immediately under the Universal International Trade Mark, sweeping you into the darkly beguiling situations that follow. If not arranged by Williams, then this could have been in the hands of Joseph Gershenson, whose name was featured as music supervisor on almost all American U.I. films during the 50-60s. Williams' composer credit is under his early calling of 'Johnny' Williams.

2. First film Produced and part directed (uncredited) by Richard Widmark

3. First film with a screenplay by Widmark's wife Jean Hazlewood.

4. First appearances in an American film for stunningly beautiful Viennese born Senta Berger, and Sonja Zieman.

5. Appears to be the first film adapted from an Alistair MacLean novel.

This film has been unfairly passed over, it was strikingly photographed on location in marvelous B/W by veteran Cinematographer Max Green...who also created the moody look to classics like; "Hatters Castle" in '42 and "Thunder Rock" also '42. Green also shot the first great noir film made by American director Jules Dasin (following Dasin's black listing in the late 40s by the House of Un-American Activities) it was the hugely atmospheric: "Night and the City" that was produced in Britain in 1950.

Award winning German actress Sonja Zieman gives a forceful performance as Julia, daughter of the professor seeking to defect to the west. The supporting cast are all first rate.

While from a story by Alistair MacLean it's not just given a simple action treatment, so this may account for other comments made by those looking for action thrills. While it does offer a couple of fanciful escape scenarios it's generally a deliberately paced, complex story involving the planned defection of pro-west refugees from Communist Hungary. As with many 60s espionage movies you may have to work hard to figure who's who and what motivates them to act in certain ways! Some of this confusion possibly came from Widmark sacking director Karlson in the last weeks of production. Perhaps this is best viewed by serious followers of the on-going after effects of WW11.

Those who enjoyed the similar 'Quiller Memorandum'('66) should also be entertained by this one. Rarely screened, and it seems quality DVDs may be difficult to find. 'The Secret Ways' remains an interesting drama for those who enjoy well made, off- beat espionage movies from the 60s. KenR.

Note: Up-Dated information: I have just purchased a DVD of this movie from Germany. It has the Universal 'studio' seal on the cover and on the disc itself. While the transfer image is quite clean it remains a little on the dark side suggesting it may have been taken from a good 35mm Composite print rather than a negative. This is better than some I've seen. It was under Cinema Classics so look for it, I ordered on-line from: DITH shop Germany.

Reviewed by oswi-52500 2 / 10

Couldn't watch

I love Alistair MacLean books and have just finished reading the book that this movie is based on. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I could not watch this load of rubbish, I turned it of after 15min. Whilst the characters names are the same as the book the plot is different and does not follow the book at all. The acting is bad and the directing is no better. I did not find the camera work anything to write home about either. If you have read the book do NOT watch this movie, you will be very disappointed.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 3 / 10

Boring Espionage Story

The Secret Ways is one of the more obscure Richard Widmark films ever done. Oddly enough it was a family project with him producing it and his wife Jean Hazlewood writing the screenplay.

It's easy to base a film on an Alastair MacLean novel, but hard for director Phil Karlson to make a boring film, but that's what Widmark and Karlson succeeded in doing. The cinematography was so drab in Vienna and in Zurich Switzerland standing in for Budapest that I fell asleep. Color might have helped, but one of the best espionage stories ever done was also filmed in black and white in Vienna, that being The Third Man. That is certainly not boring.

Richard Widmark plays an American agent who is asked to do a job and get a Hungarian resistance leader in Walter Rilla out from behind the iron curtain. Rilla is reluctant to go and at first his daughter Sonia Ziemann is reluctant to cooperate.

For a MacLean novel it has a lot less plot twists than normal. You want to see MacLean done right for the big screen checkout Where Eagles Dare.

Dick Widmark never produced another film again, wonder why.

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