I wrote here a while ago about Desmond Cory’s obscure but intriguing book Bennett, and I’ve now watched a film based on one of his other novels. This is Deadfall, directed in the Swinging Sixties by Bryan Forbes, and starring Michael Caine.
Caine is a jaded jewel thief who is persuaded by an attractive Spanish woman called Fe Moreau (played by Giovanna Ralli) to undertake another heist. He becomes involved with Fe, and her rather unpleasant husband Richard (Eric Portman, who sadly died in 1969, just a year after the film was made). The robbery that he and Richard undertake is brilliantly interwoven by scenes at a concert attended by the people they are stealing from.
My enjoyment of those scenes was enhanced by the fact that the concert featured John Barry, who composed “Romance for Guitar and Orchestra” for that part of the movie - the concert performance is integrated into the script, and takes place while a robbery is underway. The soundtrack really has stood the test of time, and even though “My Love Has Two Faces”, the song over the main titles, sung by Shirley Bassey, doesn’t quite compare with Barry’s best songs for the Bond franchise, it’s still pretty good. Another bonus was an all too brief appearance by Leonard Rossiter, one of my favourite comic actors, but in a straight role here.
I felt that the later stages of the film were not as gripping as the first half, but overall it’s a good and original story; I suspect this is true of much of Cory’s work, though I don’t know whether the movie was faithful to his book. Cory lived in Spain for a number of years, and the Spanish scenes in the movie add to its glamorous quality. I gather he wasn't totally bowled over by the film version of the book, but all in all, it is well worth a look – not least for that marvellous music as well as Caine’s typically assured performance.