Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
"Triple Cross" Good, but Suffers From Bondwagon
Cleveland Press May 26, 1967
A better-than-average espionage tale that could have been better is a movie called "Triple Cross." Supposedly the true story of Eddie Chapman, an English safecracker who served as a double agent for the Nazis and English, it suffers from obvious James Bond flourishes that detract from an unusual story.
Cockney Chapman, who now runs an antique shop in England according to studio publicity, is portrayed as a suave Raffles type by Christopher Plummer.
THE MOVIE starts just prior to World War II with Chapman deftly pulling one safe job after another, but he is captured during a vacation on the Isle of Jersey. While in jail the war starts and the Germans occupy the island.
Chapman cons the Germans into allowing him to work for Nazi intelligence. Once trained as a spy he is dropped into England where he, in turn, convinces English authorities to hire him, even persuades them into allowing him to blow up a factory so that he will look good when he gets back to Germany.
Back there he is awarded the Iron Cross, gets back to England in time to feed the Germans false information that causes V-2 rockets to be diverted from London.
Terrence Young, who directed the James Bond movies, has handled this one and, though tied to a WWII setting, has done what he could to follow the latest fashions in spy stories.
CHAPMAN is portrayed as Bond's equal at instant seduction, whether in the women's ward of a prison or the bedroom of a countess. The script writers also have attempted some of the Bond-type flip dialog. It doesn't come off and for the most part the film suffers from talkiness.
Another noticeable trend is in the portrayal of German officers by Yul Brynner and Gert Frobe. In both instances they are rather nice guys and the only villains around are the Gestapo officers. Brynner and Frobe are excellent, working against a poor script.
In spite of these short comings, "Triple Cross" is an interesting study of a con man turned spy for his own profit.