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In particular, the great Paul Scofield plays KGB agent Zharkov and Vladek Sheybal plays Holocaust survivor Max Zemetkin, who undercut their roles with an understanding of what all were fighting for during World War II. They are all disillusioned that their jobs are no longer about their countries or their peoples, but as Cross puts it a game where the "object is not to win, but not to lose." Scorpio feels the same, but as a paid assassin whom the CIA frames after he refuses to hit Cross, now finds himself conflicted between the force of duty and his loyalty to one of the few men in the world of espionage he trusts.
Filled with twists, turns, crosses and double crosses, "Scorpio" is both a high powered action film and a talky, intellectual political thriller. The International cast and locations play wonderfully in a movie that, if it were made today, would feature more violence, a cuter spy and dumber dialogue. While not as good a watch as Three Days of the Condor or a reading of The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, "Scorpio" is in their class.
One nice touch about watching today-I can pause the action and look up everybody on IMDB and see what they have done and it they are even alive.
Released at a time when disclosures about CIA and FBI abuses were receiving wider acceptance, 'Scorpio' might have become a controversial success, but was forestalled by Costa-Gavras' more factual 'State of Siege.'
A melodramatic and threatening spy film, 'Scorpio' had two rival protagonists: Cross, an experienced CIA agent being hunted by his former colleagues, and a former French paratroop officer, Jean Laurier (Alain Delon), now a 'CIA contract button man,' a professional assassin, code-name Scorpio...
Irritated by the Frenchman's independence, the CIA chief McLeod (John Colicos) has had heroin planted in his bedroom to make the hired killer more pliable... Threatened with a drug arrest, Scorpio has no choice but to accept the assignment to kill Cross, although McLeod sugars the pill with promises of a fat bonus and Cross' job as the CIA's man in the Middle East...
Although told that Cross has been a double-agent working for the "opposition," Scorpio remains doubtful... In the meantime, by a series of clever tricks and tactics, Cross has not only managed to evade the CIA men following him, but has arrived in the favorite city for cinematic intrigue, Vienna, Austria...
The most part of the film's action and some of its best sequences take place in the country on the Danube River where the mystery surrounding Cross deepens... In a nighttime rendezvous on a deserted street, Cross is met by a Viennese worker who is whistling, perhaps as a signal or out of habit, the "lnternationale.Read more ›
Scorpio is not a masterpiece because the story is lousy. Old spy wants out. The Agency wants him silenced. Send in the protege. Why cant Scorpio retire and live with is wife in suburban D.C.? Or take a private sector job as an analyst or consultant? Or move to Michigan and live out the Golden Years hunting and reading on the porch? Don't know. The Agency has it out for him. He's smarter than the Agency, and the Protege. Go figure.
The direction is basic. The acting is passable, even Alain Delon, who is cool as usual, low key, perhaps even too low key for a hunting master-spy; though next to Lancaster, underplaying is usually wise, unless he's going at it with Kirk Douglas...Paul Scofield was nice to see, though his accent is lousy, as a Soviet rival, fellow spy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought I was a very good movie about the JFK assassination. Could have very well happened this wayPublished 1 month ago by Ken
Outstanding acting and writing. A film fo all ages and times. A must see!Published 5 months ago by Frank Detucci
Dated movie with Burt Lancaster. The ending took me by surprise. Made in an era where story line and acting were more important than chase scenes and blood. Read morePublished 10 months ago by David
Good Cold War thriller. Acting good, dark and ending a bit of a surprise. Would watch it again.Published 18 months ago by G. Raney
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