.FIVE FINGERS —very interesting WW2 spy film, based on the real-life traitor known as ‘Cicero’. Through his position as a valet at the British embassy in Turkey, this cad swiped top secret documents and sold them to the Nazis.
Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz paced the 104 minutes well, the action moving swiftly. Producer Otto Lang made sure the package received a slick gloss, including sharp camera work (Norbert Brodine) and sleek art direction. Michael Wilson’s incident-rich script is graced with witty dialogue, as the spy is tracked around Ankara by not only the British, but his German customers, who suspect him even after his info proves reliable.
The 1952 thriller contains one of James Mason’s best performances, and he paints a marvelously effective picture of a man whose calculated condescension to everyone (about everything) brings more than sate to his greed—the finale is a perfect corker. Always a pleasure to hear Michael Rennie’s smooth voice, and Danielle Darrieux adds worldliness and sophistication as counterpoint-pawn to bounder Cicero.
It’s kicked off and underlined by another mysterious and haunting music score from master Bernard Hermann. The direction and screen play were Oscar nominated. $2,970,000 stole in to Fox vaults. With Walter Hampten, Oscar Karlweis, Herbert Berghof, John Wengraf, Michael Pate, Richard Loo and Lawrence Dobkin.