The story of the man who poses as dead in order that his 'widow' can pick up the insurance money is not exactly new. But director Carol Reed makes it holding entertainment.
The story of the man who poses as dead in order that his ‘widow’ can pick up the insurance money is not exactly new. But director Carol Reed makes it holding entertainment.
Based on Shelley Smith’s novel Ballad of a Running Man, John Mortimer has written a smart script, with the three principal characters well delineated. Interiors were shot at Ardmore Studios, Ireland, but main locations were lensed in Spain.
Film opens with a memorial service for Laurence Harvey, believed drowned following a glider accident. Solemnly his wife (Lee Remick) accepts the sympathy of friends. But soon Harvey turns up, larger than life, and sets in motion their plan to collect $140,000.
The claim goes through and the wife joins Harvey in Spain where she finds that he has assumed the identity of an Australian millionaire and is already plotting to pull off another insurance swindle.
Harvey has a role that suits him admirably, allowing him to run the gamut of many moods. Remick is also admirable as the young, pretty wife. Hers is a difficult part suggesting acute tension as she wavers between Harvey and Alan Bates, who has fallen for her and to whom she gives in one afternoon.
Bates, in the less flashy role of an insurance agent, ostensibly playing detective, is firstclass. He plays on a quiet, yet strong, note and is a most effective contrast to the flamboyance of Harvey.