An American official sends a letter about China to the Kremlin and it must be gotten back because of its explosiveness and lack of authorization. This is the nub of Noel Behn’s novel.
The story in cinematic form is a conglomerate of scenes, each of which makes for valuable viewing, but with the piecing together another thing. Thus is this nastiness of the spy business graphically described. It is an engagingly photographed piece of business.
Max von Sydow is a political strong man within the Russian regime. Ex-US Navy officer Patrick O’Neal has the job of salvaging the Kremlin Letter. But Russia, in the person of Richard Boone, also would like to retrieve the document. Participants include George Sanders, as a homo female impersonator in San Francisco. Orson Welles is a key Soviet man who is in New York to address the United Nations; Bibi Andersson is a prostitute married to agent Von Sydow.