The Master Plan

Writer-director Cy Endfield’s second Brittish feature, made shortly after he was blacklisted and forced into exile, and signed with the pseudonym Hugh Raker because of Hollywood’ s baleful transatlantic influences. Ironically this is one of the most paranoid cold-war thrillers to have been made anywhere, with a plot (adapted by Endfield from a story by Harold Bratt) that sounds like it could have been hatched by the hero of The Manchurian Candidate. An American major stationed in Germany who suffers from blackouts (real-life war hero Wayne Morris) is assigned to trace an intelligence leak; hypnotized by communists and unaware of what he’s doing, he photographs a secret file labeled the master plan. This is more an unsettling curiosity than a fully accomplished thriller, but Endfield’s singular edginess certainly comes through. With Tilda Thamar, Norman Wooland, Mary Mackenzie, and Arnold Bell (1954). (JR)

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