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Beyond the Curtain 1960


Director: Compton Bennett


Writers: John CresswellCompton BennettJohn Harlow, Charles F. Blair

and A.J. Wallis

Rôle: Hans Körtner

Release Date: 2 May 1960

Synopsis: East German refugee Karin finds herself back at home in Dresden when the flight on which she is stewardess, between Berlin and the West, is forced down. She is then used by the State police to find her wanted brother, so when colleague - and fiancé - Jim arrives to get her back to the western sector of Berlin, he has to watch his back.

Comment: Based on the novel 'Thunder Above' by Charles F. Blair, it is helmed by Compton Bennett who had previously directed Marius in So Little Time (1952). Marius's wife, Lucie Mannheim, plays Frau von Seefeldt, Karin's (Eva Bartok) mother.

Reviews: clanciai wrote a good review of the film on IMDb: "This is another of those cold war thrillers with manhunts in the ruins of Berlin, this one from the year before the Berlin wall was put up. For some reason this one has been neglected and almost ignored, presumed to be outdated and totally overshadowed by the earlier masterpieces by Carol Reed ("The Third Man", "The Man Between"), "The Big Lift" 1948 and others, but this is actually in line with them and not much worse although more modern. Eva Bartok makes a fully convincing character torn between east and west, between her loyalties to her background and family in Dresden and her love for an American in West Berlin - the scenes from the night clubs in West Berlin are almost sarcastically reminiscent of the much earlier very decadent Berlin of the 20s and 30s - little seems to have changed since then. The insights in Eastern Germany and Dresden are also very revealing as not much different from the Nazi days - Eva Bartok's aristocratic family villa has been taken over by a former Nazi Gauleiter now in the service of DDR. 

Richard Greene looks curiously much like Tom Hanks, and his character is even similar to most Hanks characters. It's an interesting film, Marius Goring as the doctor also torn asunder by his duties and loyalties and weakness for Eva is perhaps the most interesting character. The final tunnel chase is all too reminiscent of the final hunt in "The Third Man" but totally different.

Review on Letterboxed by Reza Said: "Old fashioned but exciting Cold War thriller set during the time when there was a dangerous side of Berlin. A commercial airliner goes off course and is forced to land in the Russian zone. The stewardess (Eva Bartok), a refugee from East Germany, is detained and sent back to East Berlin. She is used as a decoy to flush out her brother who is working for the underground movement. Her fiancé (Richard Greene), a British pilot, goes to Berlin in search of her and has to play a cat-and-mouse game with her former friend (Marius Goring) who turned traitor and is working for the secret police. Interesting shots of a ravaged Berlin which was created in the studio in London. Lucie Mannheim, famous German actress, cabaret chanteuse, longtime wife of Marius Goring, who escaped the Nazis and appeared in Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps", plays Bartok's aged mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her. Low budget film is a few notches above from being totally shoddy but the interesting cast and a suspenseful plot keeps things moving at a fast pace."

Availability: DVD (Renown Pictures) Release Date: 2011

Beyond the Curtain 1960 film poster
Beyond the Curtain poster, review & photo in the Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 18 June 1960
Beyond the Curtain article in the Aberdeen Evening Express 2 July 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Aberdeen Evening Express 6 July 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Halifax Evening Courier 20 June 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Kensington Post 29 April 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Sydney Morning Herald 14 May 1961
Beyond the Curtain review in the Kinematograph Weekly 21 April 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Daily News (London) 22 April 1960
Beyond the Curtain review in the Birmingham Daily Post 20 May 1960
Beyond the Curtain 1960 UK film poster
Beyond the Curtain 1960 Italian film poster
Beyond the Curtain 1960 Spanish film poster
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