Berlin, 1955. A gauche young electronics expert, Leonard Marnham (Scott), arrives in a city drawn and quartered by the Cold War. Already dazed to be enlisted by British Intelligence, he's even more at sea when he finds himself working on a top-secret American project under the command of one Bob Glass (Hopkins), and completely out of his depth when he's seduced by the strange, lovely German Maria (Rossellini). Before they're through, the three will be party to a secret as terrible as any covert international operation. The film didn't have an easy route to the screen. The production lost both director (Mike Newell) and leading lady (Lena Olin) before Schlesinger stepped into the breach. Surprising, then, to discover just how much this absorbing, intelligent picture (from a novel by Ian McEwan) has going for it: a strong sense of time and place, interesting characters, an intriguing scenario. Not that the film works. The pace is altogether too genteel, and, crucially, the casting doesn't stick.
Cast and crew