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The House of Intrigue (1956)

 
 

Con-Communications

The House of Intrigue (1956) Curd Jürgens

When a Nazi Counterspy unit capture an English radio-operator, John Guinness (Dario Michaelis), working under cover in the Netherlands Colonel Bernes (Curd Jürgens) does something unexpected and treats him with kindness rather than as purely the enemy. Bernes' idea is to persuade the prisoner to send false messages back to the UK which he does but on purpose making them faultless rather than containing the errors which are a security check. Despite this agents still get sent over and in the mean time Bernes has one of his radio men learn how to imitate John's exact style of transmission. When a British agent escapes having been captured he manages to get word back to England.

Without looking how can you tells a movie is an old Italian production, some might say well the look won't have the shine of a Hollywood production, many of the actors will be unfamiliar and some times you can see the actors lips not moving quite in time with the voices. But for me there is another thing and it is very clear to see in "The House of Intrigue" as when you listen to the dialogue you can tell it has been translated as the original Italian would sound so much better. Take the romantic line "Today is all that really matters my love", well I may not know my Italian but a sentence which would end with "mi amore" would simply sound beautiful. And lines such as "So long, darling" were probably written as "Ciao, Bella" or "Arrivederci, mia cara" which sound much nicer and simply less false.

But anyway I digress, probably because "The House of Intrigue" didn't really entertain me due to a variety of reasons including what for me was badly translated dialogue poorly delivered. But "The House of Intrigue" is actually a bit of a curious movie as it tries to mix being informative with being entertaining with the informative side, such as the intentional mistakes radio-operators made as part of security checks, really grabbing your attention. But then you get the entertainment side such as a scene of Bernes taking a woman on a date in what seems to the Spanish version of the Vegas strip and it is all a bit pointless.

What this all boils down to is that "The House of Intrigue" simply didn't do it for me and whilst some of it was interesting much of it wasn't. Maybe for those with knowledge of the actual events during WWII which inspired it will find it more entertaining.

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