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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > World War II > Counterfeit Traitor

The Counterfeit Traitor


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: D†††† Film: C-



One of the odd things about George Seatonís version of Alexander Kleinís The Counterfeit Traitor (1961) is its obvious desire to do a World War II Spy story as if it were Sunset Blvd. (1950).This comes by way of none other than the great William Holden, who plays the oil-dealing American who has given up the U.S. for supposedly neutral Sweden.This makes him a target for a plot to deal with the Nazis, but it is trickier than it seems.


Unfortunately, Holden is given extended voice-over work and then the film itself is very talky.That means it wants to be more cerebral, with voice over even cutting out the talking.The approach never works.This was still ambitious for its time, but has also date din its treatment of the Nazis, which is limited, too passive for its own good and that makes all the talk come more forward until the film almost becomes a spoof of itself.It is still an ambitious, professional production, but simply has not dated well.At least The Counterfeit Traitor takes itself seriously throughout, so it deserves credit for that, where most such films these days do not.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image looks good, if a bit dated, but was originally released in dye-transfer three-strip Technicolor prints.Some of the legacy of that comes through on the Jean Bourgin cinematography.This is a rich-looking film, taking full advantage of its locations.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono offers the original sound somewhat cleaned up, but is not as good as the Dolby 5.1 remix, which prominently features an Alfred Newman score outside of 20th Century Fox.This helps watching the film tremendously and the score enhances a film that drags.There are no extras.However, some aspects of this film are bound to be referenced in future Spy thrillers, so you will want to see it at least once.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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