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October 2002                                                SITE MAP   SEARCH
Triple Cross
cast: Christopher Plummer, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard, Gert Fr´┐Żbe, and Yul Brynner

director: Terence Young

120 minutes (PG) 1967
widescreen ratio 14:9
Odyssey DVD Region 2 retail
Also available to buy on video

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Donald Morefield
Based on a true story, this WWII adventure is about British safecracker Eddie Chapman (Christopher Plummer, playing it very cool), who gets caught and imprisoned on Jersey, shortly before German troops occupy the island. From there, he cuts a deal with the Nazi commandant so they train him up as a spy for their side and parachute him into England. However, Chapman betrays both the British and the Germans in trade for a free pardon from Her Majesty's Government, and a small fortune paid into a new Swiss bank account from the Reichstag. Working both sides of the fence, Chapman sabotages the Luftwaffe's bombing campaign (being most effective against their doodlebug secret weapon, the V1), blackmails the British War Office (cue Trevor Howard's appearance in another patented 'distinguished gentleman' role), and helps a wealthy baron (Yul Brynner) recover his credibility with Hitler's generals when a strategic gamble fails. In the end, Chapman is on nobody's side but his own...
   This has a similar kind of far-fetched Boys' Own appeal as Paul Verhoeven's Soldier Of Orange (1977), which was also derived from a biographical account of WWII heroism. It also has much in common with the daring-do of James Bond movies, which is hardly surprising at all when we consider that Triple Cross is directed by Terence Young, the maker of Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), and Thunderball (1965). Adding to the 007 connections is Claudine Auger (from Thunderball), featured here as the French resistance agent, Paulette, who becomes one of the amoral hero's girlfriends, and Gert Fröbe (title character in Goldfinger, 1964), impressive and likeable here as the German officer and former policeman who figures out that Chapman is a double-agent but lets him get away with his deception anyway.
   The screenplay was by Rene Hardy, from the Chapman biography by Frank Owen, and what makes Triple Cross so entertaining is that the details of what Chapman accomplished seem more extraordinary than many fictional spy stories - even the fantastical Bond films!
   Disc extras: star biographies, film notes, trailers, previews, and the usual DVD chaptering, with a 'briefing room' menu design.