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Foreign Intrigue has the distinction of being one of the earliest examples of a TV show being turned into a feature movie. The film was written and directed by Sheldon Reynolds, the same Sheldon Reynolds that was responsible for producing the television series of the same name that ran from 1951 through 1955.
When the film begins, we learn that a millionaire named Victor Danemore (Jean Galland) passed away at his fancy estate on the French Riviera from a heart attack. Enter Dave Bishop (Robert Mitchum), a man who was until very recently employed by the late Danemore. When he's questioned about the man's death he becomes perplexed as to the situations surrounding the man's passing. As such, Bishop decides to start digging around in hopes of uncovering the truth. In doing so, Bishop meets Dominique (Geneviève Page), Danemore's beautiful young widow, but it turns out that even she's somewhat in the dark about what her late husband may have been up to.
As the plot thickens, Bishop starts travelling about Europe hunting for any sort of clue or shred of evidence that might help him sort all of this out. He travels from the Riviera to Vienna to visit a lawyer named Mannheim (Frederick Schreicker), but of course he arrives to find him murdered. From there he's off to Stockholm and along the way gets involved with a beautiful woman named Brita Lindquist (Ingrid Thulin), the daughter of a dead man with ties to Danemore who may have been the victim of an elaborate blackmail scheme. As Bishop and his new flame get closer to the truth, it turns out that they too may be being followed and that cracking this case could prove far more dangerous than either of them first thought.
Foreign Intrigue is an old fashioned thriller, and not to its benefit. The plot is predictable and dry, the characters aren't particularly well thought out or interesting and the romantic subplot is crammed into the movie simply because it would seem that those behind the production figured it needed one. For these reasons, it's not particularly surprising that it remains a lesser known entry in Robert Mitchum's filmography. When you think about how often he starred in similar (and often considerably better and more interesting) thrillers like this it makes sense that the producers would cast him in the lead, but it just doesn't stand out.
To Mitchum's credit he's not bad at all in the part. He looks good here, he's got his typically macho screen presence working in his favor and he does get some decent dialogue, the type that suits his demeanor well enough to work. The other stand out here is Geneviève Page. She's not only beautiful but proves to be a pretty decent actress, managing to keep Dominique mysterious enough that we have to question just how well she and Bishop know one another. It's hinted at that they may have been having an affair but the movie is at least smart enough to leave it up to the viewer to figure that part out. This makes it all the more of a shame that the other key plot points are either tired clichés or just all too easy to see coming from a mile away.
The movie was made on a modest budget from the looks of things but it does feature some very nicely photographed European scenery. The score, however, is often times out of place and sometimes painfully so. There's enough here that makes this worth seeing, particularly if you're a fan of Robert Mitchum, but it's best to go into this one with proper expectations. Foreign Intrigue is passable entertainment on one of those days when you can't quite figure out what to watch, but not much better than that.The Blu-ray:
Foreign Intrigue debuts on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks okay if never mind-blowingly awesome. Colors look a bit faded in spots and some shots are a bit soft looking but typically detail is decent even while never hitting the levels you might want it to. Black levels can sometimes be nice and deep and other times come closer to a dark grey but the transfer is free of compression artifacts, edge enhancement and noise reduction. The picture does show minor print damage throughout in the form of occasional white specks, and there are frequent (albeit small) scratches to be seen as well. This is a fair transfer, if not an amazing one.Sound:
The English language DTS-HD Mono track on the disc is perfectly fine if not particularly remarkable. It delivers pretty much exactly what you'd want from this older, low budget film: clear dialogue, nicely balanced levels and generally just nice, clear audio. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided here.Extras:
Aside from a static menu offering chapter selection, the disc contains only a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for Man With The Gun and The Wonderful Country.Final Thoughts:
Foreign Intrigue will absolutely be of interest to Robert Mitchum fans as he's quite fun to watch in it but unfortunately the movie itself is a bit on the drab side due to a plot that is a little too straightforward and predictable for its own good. Despite the lack of any major extras, the presentation on the disc itself is okay if never amazing. This one is more for Mitchum completists than casual fans. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.