A spy thriller from 1967 is the Friday Night Movie offering tonight. It is a dark and sometimes confusing tale of a Cold War British secret agent who wants to give up his licence to kill and retire from the espionage game.
The agent, a suave and cool simulacrum of James Bond but with less gadgets, called Jonas Wilde returns from a successful assassination job in the West Indies. Wilde, played by Richard Johnson, approaches his boss, Canning, played by Harry Andrews and tells him that he has had enough. Wilde offers Canning his resignation but it is refused, and he is told to do what Wilde hopes is one last job.
Wilde is told by Canning that he will not fast-track the resignation unless he assassinates a Czechoslovakian (yes, younger readers, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic were once one country) scientist who is defecting to the West and was being held by the Americans. Wilde succeeds in killing the scientist but is captured and interrogated by a CIA agent.
There then follows, for both the character Wilde, and the viewer of the film, a growing realisation that all is not right with some of Wilde’s security service and spying colleagues, even those who are to all intents and purposes, on the same side. I won’t give any more away about the plot as it does have one or two twists.
It’s a pretty good spy yarn. Yes, it is very much a film ‘of its time’ and like many of similar films of its type it’s set in a world where there are two superpowers and each one is trying to secure an information, economic, political and military advantage over the other side. It’s a medium paced film with a relatively engaging plot.
I hope you like it.