Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This espionage thriller is built around the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Russians are secretly setting up an array of nuclear missiles aimed at American cities. A Russian diplomat has defected to the US and the hero, a French diplomat, is sent to Cuba to confirm the information. Add in the right proportion of sizzling romance, and a racy script, and you have all the ingredients for a hit. The comparison to James Bond is inevitable and it is likely that Hitchcock put his monumental talents as an entertainer and artist to cash in on the then popular genre. The film must have been extremely topical.
One of the yardsticks that can be applied to a movie is it's ability to suspend the sense of passage of time. This one is precisely the right length and leaves you with a sense of contentment and none of fatigue. Easy to follow plot wise, the lush shifting locales and the bright daylight scenes are meant to lull you into a relaxed stupor, coming to a somewhat abrupt end when you could have taken a bit more.
If not a masterpiece, this is one of the sunniest of Hitchcock films.