How I ever missed this war time thriller starring Yul Brynner and Marlon Brando is beyond me. They are two of my favorite actors and I thought I had seen most of their individual films. Watching this movie tonight was a real treat.
First of all it is in black and white. I like that style of filming with the grey tones and shadows. It's like a storm cloud hanging over everything which is the perfect mood for this story.
Both Yul and Marlon are dynamic adversaries. Yul plays a Merchant Marine sea captain who is transporting a valuable cargo of rubber from the east to Nazi Germany. Brando is the German agent working for the allies who is there to make sure that the boat is not scuttled when allied forces try to capture the vessel at sea. It was common practice to sink a valuable cargo ship rather than let it fall into enemy hands. Brando is an explosives expert who is there to dismantle the charges so that the sinking doesn't happen.
In this movie, Yul is a force of nature. Each line is deliberate and no nonsense. Brando is more of a charmer who plays games with his words. An ordinary person might fall for Brando's character's style but Yul is having none of it. He is instinctually distrustful of Brando whose cover is that of an SS officer. Yul has had some experience with the 'tender mercies' of these Nazi agents. He will not let his guard down for a second.
This doesn't mean that he is intimidated at all by Brando - in fact he is confrontational at all opportunities. For a smart man, you would think he would just go with the flow and play along (if only for his own safety and the safety of his crew). He doesn't and this makes for great tension between the two men. This is especially true as Brando tries to gain allies and manipulate the crew into helping him explore the ship to find exactly where the explosives have been placed. Brando shows genius in the way his character can think on his feet when he gets caught in a lie or when he raises suspicions amongst others.
The movie itself is constructed like a cat and mouse game - Brando trying to disable the explosives on the boat without getting caught and Brynner trying to keep track of Brando's movements the whole time. The beauty of this film is that I don't know if I want Brando to succeed. You have sympathy for him completing his mission but at the same time you want him to fail.
It's a very interesting film and one that I was glad to come across.
Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness
I forever stand vigilant to protect this planet from the myriad of forces that are always against us. Be it the octopus, zombies, aliens or the robots my team of human agents, and our feline allies, circle the globe in a never ending struggle for human freedom.
I learn all I can on every subject that interests me. I especially enjoy ancient history because in the past there are valuable lessons to be found. Also, if I ever get my time machine to work properly, it would be good to know a bit about possible destinations and what to expect when I get there.
I greatly appreciate beautiful design. Be it manufactured or found naturally I am fascinated by the process of invention. I am attracted to the unique, the strange, the haunted. I like to share what I find on this blog.
And not let us forget the 'Cephalopod Menace' who, if allowed to, would wrap their tentacles around all that is good and pure in this life and crush it until it remained no more. They are creatures of pure spite. Hate is all they know. Death is all they do. They are our most ruthless and determined enemy.
So we fight. Selena has the celebrity contacts, the cat is ruthless and without pity, Roosevelt's ghost has the experience and I do the wetwork.
Fighting for the future of the planet doesn't have to be a chore, however. We can take the time to appreciate all that is cool in this world even as we cut the octopus into bite sized chunks.
This is the reason there has always been and must forever be, a Cave of Cool. Be sure to wipe your feet before you enter.