Israel in its birth pains back-drops this frequently-tenseful adventure tale realistically produced in its actual locale. The production combines a moving story with interesting, unfamiliar characters.
The screenplay, based on an original by Lawrence Durrell, is two-pronged: the story of Sophia Loren, as the Jewish ex-wife of a Nazi war criminal who betrayed her and sent her to Dachau, intent upon finding him and wreaking her own brand of vengeance, and the efforts of the Haganah, Israel’s underground army, to capture him.
Under Daniel Mann’s forceful direction, the two points are fused as femme finds herself obliged to throw in with the Israelis, who use her to track down the man they know is in the Middle East but do not know how to identify.
Loren is excellent. It is a colorful role for her, particularly in her recollections of the young son she thought murdered until the Nazi, finally captured, tells her he is still alive.
Peter Finch, as a kibbutz leader and one of the Haganah, registers effectively and creates an indelible impression of what Israeli leaders accomplished in setting up their own state.
Nicolas Roeg is credited with second unit direction and additional photography.