Masquerade


1h 41m 1965
Masquerade

Brief Synopsis

An Arab heir plots his own kidnapping in a desperate bid for peace in the Middle East.

Film Details

Also Known As
Operation Masquerade, The Shabby Tiger
Genre
Comedy
Action
Adventure
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 28 Apr 1965
Production Company
Novus Films
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Castle Minerva by Victor Canning (London, 1955).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Vital oil-concession talks between Britain and the Middle Eastern state of Ramaut have broken down, and the Foreign Office sends for Colonel Drexel, wartime liberator of Ramaut. Drexel's assignment is to kidnap the young heir to the throne, Prince Jamil, and keep him hidden until he ascends the throne and signs an agreement favorable to the British. Despite official objections, Drexel insists on hiring a wartime comrade, David Frazer, as his assistant. A daring soldier of fortune, Frazer follows his instructions and goes to a villa in Spain to be met by Drexel and the prince. Shortly after encountering the beautiful Sophie and her suspicious-looking companions, Frazer is knocked unconscious and Prince Jamil disappears. British officials suspect Frazer of duplicity, but Drexel staunchly defends him. Frazer soon learns, however, that Drexel is behind the kidnaping and plans to sell the prince back to his uncle. When Frazer confronts him with his knowledge of the facts, Drexel offers to include Frazer in the arrangement, but Frazer refuses the offer. Drexel then departs with the prince and is pursued by Frazer. They cross a canyon by means of a rope-suspension bridge; the bridge collapses; and Frazer saves both Drexel and Prince Jamil from death. British authorities watching the scene from a helicopter assume that both men have done their jobs well. The prince is restored to his throne, Drexel is awarded a commendation and a lucrative oil company job, and Frazer receives a modest check.

Film Details

Also Known As
Operation Masquerade, The Shabby Tiger
Genre
Comedy
Action
Adventure
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 28 Apr 1965
Production Company
Novus Films
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Castle Minerva by Victor Canning (London, 1955).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Articles

Masquerade


When the James Bond movie craze was at its height in the mid-sixties, it wasn't unusual to find dozens of Ian Fleming rip-offs and wannabe 007s at the local cinema. Most of these were inferior secret agent yarns but there were a few exceptions and one of these was Masquerade (1965), a tongue-in-cheek espionage thriller starring Cliff Robertson and Jack Hawkins. As David Fraser, a daring soldier-of-fortune, Robertson is required to avoid assassins' bullets, cross a deep gorge on a decrepit trestle bridge, and face other life-threatening assignments, all in the service of the British government. To be exact, he's working for an old friend, Colonel Drexel (Hawkins), a former British war hero, who plans to use Fraser in a kidnapping plot involving a young Arabian prince and a lucrative Middle Eastern oil contract.

Masquerade avoids the camp theatrics and outlandish gadgetry of the James Bond films and concentrates instead on the unpredictable nature of the secret agent business with its constantly shifting alliances and secret agendas. Other pluses include a witty script (based on the novel Castle Minerva by Victor Canning), exotic locations, and a distinguished international cast including the alluring Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, and Charles Gray (the narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975).

Director Basil Dearden, who first attracted rave reviews for his intelligent treatment of controversial topics (race relations in Sapphire (1959), homosexuality in Victim, 1961), keeps things moving along at a brisk clip in Masquerade with occasional detours into the bizarre: a sequence where Robertson is lured into a circus ring and beaten by crackling clowns is particularly memorable. But the real scene-stealer in this spy caper is Jack Hawkins who remains unflappable in even the most extreme situations, tossing off dry one-liners with a world-weary delivery. Unfortunately, Hawkins would lose his voice to throat cancer the following year but he continued working in films until his death in 1973 (His speaking parts were dubbed by other actors).

Producer: Michael Relph
Director: Basil Dearden
Screenplay: William Goldman, Michael Relph
Production Design: Donald M. Ashton
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Costume Design: Beatrice Dawson
Film Editing: John D. Guthridge
Original Music: Philip Green
Cast: Cliff Robertson (David Frazer), Jack Hawkins (Col. Drexel), Marisa Mell (Sophie), Christopher Witty (Prince Jamil), Bill Fraser (Dunwoody).

by Jeff Stafford

Masquerade

Masquerade

When the James Bond movie craze was at its height in the mid-sixties, it wasn't unusual to find dozens of Ian Fleming rip-offs and wannabe 007s at the local cinema. Most of these were inferior secret agent yarns but there were a few exceptions and one of these was Masquerade (1965), a tongue-in-cheek espionage thriller starring Cliff Robertson and Jack Hawkins. As David Fraser, a daring soldier-of-fortune, Robertson is required to avoid assassins' bullets, cross a deep gorge on a decrepit trestle bridge, and face other life-threatening assignments, all in the service of the British government. To be exact, he's working for an old friend, Colonel Drexel (Hawkins), a former British war hero, who plans to use Fraser in a kidnapping plot involving a young Arabian prince and a lucrative Middle Eastern oil contract. Masquerade avoids the camp theatrics and outlandish gadgetry of the James Bond films and concentrates instead on the unpredictable nature of the secret agent business with its constantly shifting alliances and secret agendas. Other pluses include a witty script (based on the novel Castle Minerva by Victor Canning), exotic locations, and a distinguished international cast including the alluring Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, and Charles Gray (the narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975). Director Basil Dearden, who first attracted rave reviews for his intelligent treatment of controversial topics (race relations in Sapphire (1959), homosexuality in Victim, 1961), keeps things moving along at a brisk clip in Masquerade with occasional detours into the bizarre: a sequence where Robertson is lured into a circus ring and beaten by crackling clowns is particularly memorable. But the real scene-stealer in this spy caper is Jack Hawkins who remains unflappable in even the most extreme situations, tossing off dry one-liners with a world-weary delivery. Unfortunately, Hawkins would lose his voice to throat cancer the following year but he continued working in films until his death in 1973 (His speaking parts were dubbed by other actors). Producer: Michael Relph Director: Basil Dearden Screenplay: William Goldman, Michael Relph Production Design: Donald M. Ashton Cinematography: Otto Heller Costume Design: Beatrice Dawson Film Editing: John D. Guthridge Original Music: Philip Green Cast: Cliff Robertson (David Frazer), Jack Hawkins (Col. Drexel), Marisa Mell (Sophie), Christopher Witty (Prince Jamil), Bill Fraser (Dunwoody). by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Spain and the Middle East. Working title: The Shabby Tiger. Opened in London in April 1965; running time: 102 min. Also known as Operation Masquerade.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965

c Eastmancolor

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1965