(director: John Huston; screenwriters: Walter Hill/based on Desmond Bagley’s novel, “The Freedom Trap”; cinematographer: Oswald Morris; editor: Russell Lloyd; music: Maurice Jarre; cast: Paul Newman (Joseph Rearden), Dominique Sanda(Mrs. Smith), James Mason (Sir George Wheeler), Harry Andrews(Mackintosh), Ian Bannen (Slade), Robert Lang (Jack Summers), Jenny Runacre (Gerda), Nigel Patrick (Soames-Trevelyan), Michael Hordern (Brown), Percy Herbert (Taafe), Roland Culver (Judge), Peter Vaughan (Brunskill); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: John Foreman; Warner Brothers; 1973

Filled with big plot holes.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A familiar old-fashioned espionage yarn that brings back good memories for these seventies thrillers, even if the lackluster film is not that good and is filled with big plot holes. It’s shot on location in Ireland, England and Malta. Director John Huston (“Beat The Devil”/”The Maltese Falcon”) efficiently directs even if he seems distracted. He’s hampered by a convoluted story and his star not able to handle an Australian accent and the French actress Dominique Sanda not convincing as a British Intelligence agent. Other wise it’s fairly entertaining as a routine thriller and serves as a good time waster. Screenwriter Walter Hill based it on the novel The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley. Those critics who read the book, said it was far superior to the movie. Joseph Rearden (Paul Newman) is an Australian British Intelligence agent who the British Home Secretary, Mackintosh (Harry Andrews), gives a phony name and identity and sends him on a dangerous secret undercover mission to go to jail in London for robbing a postman of a package containing diamonds so he can infiltrate a criminal gang connected with communists. In the same prison is the traitor named Slade (Ian Bannen), an official who betrayed his country for the communist cause. The only other person who knows about the mission is Mrs. Smith (Dominque Sanda), Mackintosh’s daughter and assistant. Arrangements, at a high cost, are made by the inmates with juice for Rearden to escape with Slade. The escapees are drugged and taken to a remote house in Ireland, where they are kept under guard by Brown (Michael Hordern) and his sadistic henchmen. When the situation turns ghastly, Rearden overtakes his captors and flees over the moors to a small seaport town. When the pompous ass wealthy Brit politician, a member of the House of Lords, known for his ‘law and order’ stance, Sir George Wheeler (James Mason), shows up in his yacht, all the suspense is removed as to who is the villain in a high place. With Mrs. Smith’s father run over by a car and in a coma after telling Wheeler about the secret mission in order to smoke him out, she joins the agent and they try to nail the sleazy Wheeler by tailing him to Malta. On the way there’s a car chase on a twisty mountain road, resulting in a fatal crash on the rocks. In Malta, there’s an action-packed but predictable climax that neatly wraps things up.