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The Prize

Stockholm during Nobel week is the setting for Irving Wallace's smorgasbord novel. In Ernest Lehman's Hitchcockeyed screenplay, seven selected prizewinners convene to receive the award. The man from literature (Paul Newman) senses something amiss in the behavior and physique of the man from physics (Edward G. Robinson), proceeds to snoop around for clues and ends up in a wild goose chase, with himself as the goose who almost gets cooked.

With:
Paul Newman Edward G. Robinson Elke Sommer Diane Baker Micheline Presle Gerard Oury

Stockholm during Nobel week is the setting for Irving Wallace’s smorgasbord novel. In Ernest Lehman’s Hitchcockeyed screenplay, seven selected prizewinners convene to receive the award. The man from literature (Paul Newman) senses something amiss in the behavior and physique of the man from physics (Edward G. Robinson), proceeds to snoop around for clues and ends up in a wild goose chase, with himself as the goose who almost gets cooked.

The Prize is a suspense melodrama played for laughs. Trouble is the basic comedy approach clashes with the political-topical framework of the story. Although limited as a comic actor and confronted here with a rather difficult and unsubstantial character to portray, Newman tackles his task with sufficient vivacity to keep an audience concerned for his welfare and amused by his antics. Robinson achieves a persuasive degree of contrast in his dual role.

Elke Sommer, as an attache who gets attached to Newman, hasn’t a very scintillating role, but has the looks to make that a secondary issue.

Mark Robson’s direction generates a lot of excitement, humor and suspense in spots, but this is offset by hokey elements, occasional exaggerations and stripping of dramatic gears as the film fluctuates between its incompatible components.

The Prize

Production: M-G-M/Roxbury. Director Mark Robson; Producer Pandro S. Berman; Screenplay Ernest Lehman; Camera William H. Daniels; Editor Adrienne Fazan; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director George W. Davis, Urie McCleary

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 135 MIN.

With: Paul Newman Edward G. Robinson Elke Sommer Diane Baker Micheline Presle Gerard Oury

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