Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Counterfeit Traitor (4 stars)
The Counterfeit Traitor was one of the movies I watched for my William Holden Birthday Movie Marathon. I had seen it once before, about two or three years ago, but I felt it was time for a re-watch. Also starring Lilli Palmer, The Counterfeit Traitor, which is based on a true story, is a very intense WWII espionage flick from 1962.
Erick Erickson (Holden) is an oil trader living and working in neutral Sweden. Though American-born, Erickson has long been a Swedish citizen, and he is completely non-political...whatever is good for business is good for him. However, he finds himself pressured (blackmailed in a way) by the British Intelligence to spy on the Germans, reporting back to them about the German oil refineries. Between a rock and a hard place, Erick has no choice but to get involved in the dangerous world of espionage and is soon given a contact, a beautiful German woman named Marianne Mollendorf (Lilli Palmer).
Though he originally took on the role due to pressure from the British Intelligence, after witnessing atrocities committed by the Nazis, Erick comes to believe in his cause wholeheartedly. Even though his wife leaves him and his friends abandon him because of his (apparent) pro-Nazi views, he won't back off. And even when it might mean his own life, he refuses to leave Germany.
There are many powerful, bone-chilling moments in this film, and William Holden is positively brilliant in his role. I think it's one of the best performances of his career. The movie is a bit long (just short of two and a half hours); however, it never drags...it's pretty much non-stop action. I definitely highly recommend it.