The Prize

1963

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

6
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 3843

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Paul Newman as Andrew Craig
Britt Ekland as Nudist
Leo G. Carroll as Count Bertil Jacobsson
Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Max Stratman
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.1 GB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 14 min
P/S 2 / 2
2.14 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 14 min
P/S 1 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 7 / 10

"The Prize" is rather entertaining, though silly…

Director Mark Robson and scriptwriter Ernest Lehman (both of From the Terrace) transformed the relatively serious Irving Wallace novel into a glossy blend of comedy, suspense, melodrama, romance, sex and international intrigue…

The complicated story concerns a group of Nobel Prize winners gathered in Stockholm for the ceremonies… Newman is the winner in Literature, although he's written only cheap detective thrillers (under pseudonyms) for the past five years… Another hard-drinking womanizer, he has plenty of booze, and a beautiful Swedish official (Elke Sommer) assigned to him… But he's distracted from these long enough to suspect that the Physics prizewinner (Edward G. Robinson) has been kidnapped by the Communists and replaced by a double… Naturally, nobody believes him…

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 7 / 10

A diverting tale, if you overlook many plot inconsistencies

Copyright 24 October 1963 by Roxbury Productions. Released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. New York opening at the Radio City Music Hall: 23 January 1964. U.S. release: 25 December 1963. U.K. release: 1 March 1964. 12,120 feet. 135 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Newly arrived in Stockholm to receive their Nobel Prizes are Andrew Craig (literature), Max Stratman (physics), John Garrett and Carlo Farelli (medicine), and Claude and Denise Marceau (chemistry). The first night Stratman, who is accompanied by his niece Emily, is kidnapped by Communist agents and his twin brother (Emily's father) takes his place. The plan is to remove the real Stratman to behind the Iron Curtain while his brother makes derogatory remarks about the U.S. during his acceptance speech. Craig, who had met the real Stratman, becomes suspicious of the impersonator and starts his own private investigation. As a result he finds himself in the center of an intrigue and several attempts are made upon his life.

NOTES: Location scenes filmed in Stockholm.

COMMENT: Mediocre entertainment at best. Its many faults include a dated, pot-boiler script about Russian spies on a kidnapping spree with E. Phillips Oppenheim impersonations. Whether to take the goings-on seriously or not is a big question. At times, the plot is obviously played for thrills, on other occasions for laughs.

A number of technical imperfections also cause viewer unease. These include blatant doubles in 2nd unit sequences, glaringly obvious process screen effects, and action spots that are amateurishly under-cranked. The direction is undistinguished, though reasonably fast-paced. Daniels' color cinematography is disappointingly ordinary throughout.

That the film is better than the sum of its parts is due almost entirely to the cast. Newman plays sullenly, if with an occasional mordant wit. In fact, he starts off well, but is let down by the script when his character as the scared pulp-writer who is being unwillingly drawn into the parallel world of his own creation — this time for real — is abandoned halfway through. Instead the character reverts to a standard heroic mold with acrobatics that include jumping on to the side of a high-speed truck to avoid knife-wielding assassins and a spectacular dive off a Stockholm bridge.

Unfortunately, there are still inconsistencies. Robinson fares better with an ingenious role which for some reason (tiredness) he plays at only half strength, relying for effect more on his heavy make-up than his native histrionic abilities. McCarthy as usual performs most capably in a minor sub-plot, whilst Miss Presle is unattractively photographed in another. Diane Baker has a thankless, if oddly appealing part, which she plays with little zest.

On the solidly credit side are the silkily attractive Elke Sommer, Rudolph Anders as Bergh, John Wengraf as the villain and Sacha Pitoeff as Daranyi, his shivery henchman.

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 8 / 10

Homage to the Master

Imitation in the film world is not always a bad thing. We can all think of movies that are eminently watchable despite owing an obvious debt to an earlier film or to the work of a particular director. Alfred Hitchcock is one director who has always attracted his fair share of imitators. Films such as Henry Hathaway's 'Niagara', J. Lee Thompson's 'Cape Fear' or Brian de Palma's 'Dressed to Kill' all owe an obvious debt to the master's work (even down to the trademark blonde heroine) but are nevertheless good films in their own right.

All the above films were influenced by the darker side of Hitchcock's work; the strongest influence on 'Dressed to Kill', for example, seems to have been 'Psycho'. He did, however, have a lighter side, often seen in his spy films which frequently blend suspense with humour. Examples are 'The Lady Vanishes', with its two eccentric cricket-loving English gentlemen, 'The Thirty-Nine Steps' and, most importantly for our purposes, 'North by North-West'.

'The Prize' clearly shows the influence of the lighter Hitchcock. The setting is the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, and the central character is the winner of the prize for literature, Andrew Craig, an alcoholic American novelist suffering from writer's block. (As numerous figures in the American literary establishment around this time did indeed have a drink problem, it is interesting to speculate who might have been the model for the character). Craig discovers a Soviet-block plot to kidnap Dr Stratmann, the German-born American winner of the physics prize, and to replace him with a double who will use ceremony to announce his defection to East Germany. Like the Hitchcock films mentioned above, the film mixes tension with humorous moments. The tension arises from Craig's attempts to thwart the kidnap plot and to convince the sceptical Swedish authorities of its existence. The humour mostly arises from the scenes featuring the other prize-winners. The French husband-and-wife team who have shared the chemistry prize have done so despite the fact that they cannot stand each other. (The husband has insisted on his mistress accompanying him under the guise of his 'secretary', while the wife enjoys flirting with Craig). The American and Italian co-winners of the prize for medicine constantly bicker about which of them has plagiarised the other's work. (The peace prize winner does not appear to feature in the film, although a pacifist is sorely needed to keep the peace among the others).

Even the scenes featuring Craig are not always to be taken seriously. Although there are genuine moments of suspense, such as the scene with the car on the bridge, there are humorous moments as well. As other reviewers have pointed out, the scene at the nudist convention owes much to the auction scene in 'North by North-West', also written by Ernest Lehman. The humour here arises from the contrast between the seeming absurdity of Craig's actions and their underlying serious purpose- he is trying to attract the attention of the police because he is in danger from the villains.

There are a number of effective performances, especially from Paul Newman as Craig and Edward G. Robinson as both Dr Stratmann and his double. The result is a superior piece of entertainment, not quite as good as Hitchcock at his best, but better than most of his sixties movies except 'Psycho' and possibly 'Marnie'. It is certainly closer to authentic Hitchcock than his last two spy films, 'Torn Curtain' and 'Topaz'. 8/10.

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