The Silent One

1973 [FRENCH]

Drama / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6.8 10 871

Keywords:   kgb, night train

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April 24, 2022 at 05:50 AM


Robert Hardy as Chief of M.I.5's assistant
1.05 GB
fre 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by daniel-charles2 8 / 10

One of the best spy thrillers of the 70s

Le silencieux can compete as one of the most undervalued movie ever. I saw it when it went out, and many times since. It might not be as things really were (they were probably worse), but it remains a BGS (Bloody Good Story). Ventura, like in most of his films, is impressive. Lea Massari character is not pointless: she is the lost charm, the lost life, the unattainable past (as unattainable as she was in Deville's "La femme en bleu"): she remains a mystery, and it is her function. Without her, the main character would be without nostalgia. Of course, there is the strange dusty colour of French movies of the 70s, not too pleasant. And the set designer of the MI5 office ought to be shot. But apart that, the movie remains tightly knit, in truth one of the best spy thrillers of the 70s.

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 8 / 10

Copyright 1972 by Alain Poiré Productions.

Original French title: Le Silencieux. Never released in the U.S.A. or Australia. U.K. release through Variety Film Distributors: floating from May 1974. London opening at Studio-1: 9 May 1974 (ran 3 weeks). Original running time: 118 minutes. English dubbed version: 113 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Murderous KGB agents chase an unwilling Russian defector all over Europe.

COMMENT: The print under review is the English-dubbed version and for once it's pleasing to report that the dubbing has been executed with a great deal of expertise. Of course there are still some infelicities - oddly enough it's Leo Genn who has the greatest trouble matching his own dialogue to his own lip movements - but by and large it's all pretty convincing. Even the minor players are dubbed with care and skill. The movie itself is a top-class chase thriller which will not only please lovers of this genre no end, but should appeal to a more general audience as well, particularly armchair travellers and train buffs. All the standard realistic spy thriller ingredients are here with our harassed hero making lots of hair's breadth escapes from trains, cars, hotels, cafes, apartment blocks, concert halls and hospitals. Lots of tight corners and clever stratagems. Ventura makes both a fascinating yet sympathetic hero. He really looks the part. The other players, particularly Lea Massari in a small but important role, are equally convincing. Aided immeasurably by Collomb's superlative photography, director Pinoteau makes superlative use of his real locations. The scenes in Grenoble and the climactic episode in the Austrian Alps have a pictorial beauty, a wonderfully apposite autumnal richness that lift the film from the highly professional to the stylishly dramatic. Great music score too, and forceful film editing.

OTHER VIEWS: A tense, edge-of-the-seat thriller, appealingly acted, lavishly produced and excitingly photographed. The pace never lets up; but though the action comes thick and fast, Ventura still manages to etch a powerful, vivid study of an innocent amateur caught up in a deadly pursuit with few rules and no mercy. -- JHR writing as George Addison.

Reviewed by silverauk 7 / 10

Without interest or just 85 minutes of suspense?

Lino Ventura is a good actor and his gives the pace to this somewhat silly adaptation by Jean-Loup Dabadie of the novel of Francis Ryck. Claude Pinoteau made here his fist movie as a director but he had still to learn. The action scenes are not looking real. The conflict of a spy who does not want to be found by the KGB but at the other hand is kept in custody by MI5 is not handled carefully. You see by teleprinter that the Russians want to kill him but how can they find him so easily? The end of the movie is good and leaves us a surprise. For the new generation who did not know the cold war, this movie will lack authenticity but who knows how many people were in this situation: kept between two fires. MI5 will not say anything once Tibère goes to his beloved France. In France he cannot trust anyone but his brief encounters with some relatives are strange and confuse. Lea Massari steals the end of the movie with her beautiful face looking at the future, because Tibère starts a new life.

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