Title: 36 Hours
Director: George Seaton
Writer: Seaton, based on the short story “Beware of the Dog” by Roald Dahl (!)
Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor, Werner Peters
The Story: An army intelligence officer who knows the plans for D-Day is kidnapped by the Germans, who try to trick him into spilling the beans by making him think that the he’s on an American base in 1950.
Why It’s Neat: I love elaborate Mission: Impossible style fake-outs, so it’s fun to see one where the hero is staring down the business end of the scam. The mechanics of the whole thing are fascinating. Of course, they can bamboozle our hero for so long, and the second half becomes a retread of Garner’s previous hit, The Great Escape. The hardest thing about writing any thriller or war movie is coming up with believable ways for the advantage to shift back and forth? First the villain gets the jump on the hero, then vice versa, then repeat that about twenty times, but each time it’s going to seem crazier that they underestimated the other again. The easiest way to do these things is to make either the hero or the villain do something dumb, like put the hero in a deathtrap and leave the room, but the audience feels cheated. This movie sets the bar high by establishing that both the hero and villain are very smart, then it comes up with a series of increasingly clever ways for them to trip each other up.Link to this Post: http://www.moviewithme.com/blog/archives/1050