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Monday, March 7, 2011


Farfetched, even idiotic, but this WWI espionage yarn is also good fun in its boyishly adventuresome way. In tone, it lands midway between THE GUNS OF NAVARONE/’61 and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC/’81; in execution, it’s minor league stuff at best. Michael York is suitably boyish as the British junior officer whose German lineage make him just the fellow to check out that new Zeppelin the Boche are building. Too bad about that touch of vertigo. But when a test run of the experimental ship turns into a commando raid on Scotland, York has to play navigator! Who’s side is this boy on? What are the Germans after? And will the Brits be too dense to decipher his messages? The early ‘70s production style has that unfortunate over-lit, over-processed look to it, but the effects are (mostly) convincing enough and playfully charming when they’re not. Once they’re flying, Elke Sommer helps out nicely as the pretty, young wife of the dirigible’s designer (Marius Goring) and as York’s serendipitous love interest. (Check out that steal from Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS/’46 when they almost get caught sending a wireless.)

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