The Spies

1957 [FRENCH]

Drama / Mystery / Thriller

0
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 905

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 18, 2021 at 11:33 AM

Cast

Martita Hunt as Connie Harper
Sam Jaffe as Sam Cooper
Peter Ustinov as Michel Kaminsky
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.13 GB
1280*682
fre 2.0
NR
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 7 / 24
2.1 GB
1920*1024
fre 2.0
NR
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 14 / 48

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by robert-temple-1 10 / 10

Magnificent bizarre suspense film by the French Hitchcock

This intense study of suspicion and intrigue is devoted to the theme of 'whom can you trust?', with the answer being 'no one'. Henri-Georges Clouzot was a true master of suspense, known as 'the French Hitchcock', and he decided here to study spies in the way that an entomologist studies beetles, watching them scurry and turn over on their backs and die. Here, numerous people lie sweating in bed, many of them die, and all are betraying one another. They scurry around as if they smell something, and maybe they do, but often it is poison. One fires bullets through a door at an unknown enemy, several kill their deputies or assistants or proteges, and everyone is nervous. The Russians and the Americans both want to kill a physicist who knows too much. All of this comes to roost in a dilapidated rotting psychiatric asylum with only two patients, one mute woman played by Clouzot's wife Vera, giving one of the most powerful performances in the film without saying anything. The central character, superbly harried and worried and greedily noble, is played by Gerard Sety, to perfection. One minute he is grabbing a million, the next he is giving it away to save the world. Martita Hunt (Miss Havisham in David Lean's 'Great Expectations') is so creepy you will have no hair left on the back of your neck at the end of the film. O. E. Hasse is wonderful in a small but crucial part. Kurt Jurgens is powerful, massive, behind his sunglasses which he wears indoors as either a prisoner or a patient, one is for long not sure which. Peter Ustinov is sinister and menacing, not to be trifled with, always in an overcoat and greasily bearded. Sam Jaffe and Paul Carpenter are eerie and menacing, while vacillating between being heroes and villains: which is trying to kill which? Who is good? Who is bad? What is really going on? The complexities are so intricate, and the betrayals so compulsive that one realizes this is not just a thriller, it is a scientific study of just what its title says: 'spies', those deeply psychologically disturbed people whose sole restless compulsion is to search and betray. What a dark, fascinating, eerily photographed film, absolutely glistening with deceit in a kind of perennial dusk.

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 8 / 10

So ahead of its time it remains indecipherable today.

This is HG Clouzot's most ambitious work ,one of the most demanding and complex movie of a soon-to-be -nouvelle-vague France.Let's put it straight:although modern to a fault,"les espions" has nothing to do with the nouvelle vague:no ""free" camera here",a bunch of "old actors", a very elaborate screenplay.The problem is that it has nothing to do with the "old guard" either.The "story" flouts conventions,and HGC does not give a damn if his audience cannot catch up with it.The film was bound to be a commercial failure,particularly with an audience who got enthusiastic over "le salaire de la peur'(wages of fear) and "les diaboliques" .

The starting point may recall "the diaboliques": in this latter work,a seedy boarding-school;in "les espions" ,a doctor short of the readies,whose clinic is sinking.So why not gladly agreeing a mysterious man's proposal?One million francs,if he puts "them" up?Who are "they"?That's how the doctor's(Gerard Sety) nightmare begins.He is caught up in the system,and a lot of threatening characters (played by topnotch international actors:Curd Jurgens,Martita Hunt,Sam Jaffe)begin to show up:every time he thinks he begins to understand,the truth eludes him-Gérard Séty 's character predates Laurence Harvey's in "the Mandchourian candidate" and even Michael Douglas's in "the game".HGC watched the spies as if they were microbes under a microscope.It's a rather unpleasant view. Vera Clouzot-the unforgettable heroine of "les diaboliques" - appears in the role of a deaf and dumb neurotic woman(She was to die of an heart attack three years later).

Clouzot 's health began to deteriorate during the sixties.After "les espions" he was to make only two works "la vérité"(the truth) one of Brigitte Bardot's best parts and "la prisonnière".He made only 11 movies in all,which may not seem much,but most of them are among the best works French cinema has produced.

Reviewed by mbs 8 / 10

Wildly Unpredictable Version of The Old "Spy Vs Spy"/"Who Can I Trust?" Plot

Les Espions or "Spies" as it was released here in the US in '58 is both a crazy film and a crazily efficient film. Its one of these movies that somehow manages to work as both a genre spy film AND a parody of the genre spy film at the same time. Oh don't get me wrong--it is NOT a comedy, but again both a straightforward and at times (especially in the second half) circular ride about the various secret agents, double agent spies, and possibly murderous triple agents that suddenly start to wreck havoc on the everyday life of this doctor/manager of a local mental hospital. This poor guy is getting drunk in his local pub one night and rather groggily moaning about how local politics are ruining the lives of his honest poor working countrymen but nobody's got enough common sense to either set the politicians straight or are too corrupt themselves to do anything for anyone else---somehow this is enough for this one other guy there to make the drunk doctor an offer he can't refuse---see he's a secret agent with a secret division and he will pay the good doctor a million dollars to shelter this east German defector who's got some sort of nuclear secret weapon or something that will change the fate of their country, blah, blah, blah but he's got to protect him from everyone who will come after him--the doctor more or less agrees when he sees the million dollars stuffed into his pocket and more or less stops listening, goes home, passes out, and wakes up to find....his staff has been replaced by two henchmen and a very intimidating woman who all insist they're working for the secret agent.

Doctor soon finds patients who all insist they're working for the secret agent, barflies in his favorite bar who all insist they're working for the secret agent, neighboors wandering around the grounds of the hospital who all insist they're working for the secret agent...and well an entire community seemingly made out of nothing but professional "spies" all set on inserting themselves into the life of this good doctor. Before too long the actual German guy himself turns up and who of course will turn out to be...well i'm not going to say.

Who can the poor doctor trust? Nobody but the mute woman who seems to have a rather large crush on our good doctor and the heavily sedated gastric patient who were both there before the night the secret agent made him this million dollar propisition it seems. This doesn't stop hefty, overly friendly, and creepily passive aggressive Russian Peter Ustinov--and a constantly rationalizing and fear mongering older professor from constantly turning up and explaining to the good doctor just what is what and whom is whom, and generally causing confusion. When the German man does turn up and the doctor does do his best to shelter him amidst the serious chaos. (even tho the German man can very much take care of himself--way way better then the well meaning but completely over his head good doctor can) and well things just spiral more and more out of control plot wise from there. Suffice it to say that the three people i just mentioned in addition to the fake receptionist are all serving cross purposes and are constantly leaving red herrings and massive doublespeak in their wake causing the good doctor to have a hard time trying to keep up with what the latest info is that he needs to know.

This is all actually fun for a good hour or so but then the film more or less descends into a little bit of confusion as too many things the various people are telling the good doctor are taken to be the truth or taken to be lies. I realize the fun is supposed to be in figuring out the truth alongside the good doctor but when he eventually does and tries to do everything he can about it---it all starts to seem rather pointless. Also the longer this goes on the more you want to ask yourself exactly why is he still trying to get this all straight again? the money is already in your pocket bro--just take it and run! (which is of course exactly why the first secet agent picked him in the bar back in the beginning) Questions about motivation aside--the ending leaves you with a good nasty jolt, and that queasy expression you see on the good doctor's face will definitely mirror your own as the deeper implications of the doctor's position at the end of the movie sink in. Of course I don't actually know if that will be as true for you as it was for me, i thought it was a really effective ending---but I also really like ironic Twilight Zone style endings in which the hero doesn't exactly get what he wants but sort of achieves his goals even if they're far different then the way he'd imagined it to be. Its not exactly a realistic ending cause i doubt anything in this movie is realistic but i feel like its a smarter ending then most of the espionage movies of this era usually get, its an ending that's actually quite worthy of the best of Hitchcock himself (of whose work this movie truly and seriously resembles) (on a side note this movie also more or less reminds me as a whole of the long forgotten 1980's Donald Sutherland spy caper "The Trouble With Spies" which while played for laughs does in fact echo this plot in several key ways.)

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