Puppet on a Chain Film Details
Overview: Following a triple professional hit a U.S. agent arrives in Amsterdam to investigate a heroin smuggling ring. He finds a city rife with drugs and a police force unable or unwilling to do much about it. With his incognito female fello
Tagline: It will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat….
Review: Historically, the 1946 Dick Powell movie “To The Ends of the Earth” kicked off the drug smuggling movie genre when the old Production Code Administration amended the infamous Motion Picture Code in 1946 to allow the depiction of narcotics traffic. Previously, the PCA refuses in most instants to let filmmakers name the narcotics in their movies, much less show people abusing these substances. “The French Connection” captured the most awards with a Best Picture Oscar in 1971, and then the Alistair MacLean heroin thriller “Puppet on a Chain” came out in 1972. The formulaic “Puppet on a Chain” is not half as exciting as either “The Satan Bug” or “When Eight Bells Toll,” two superior MacLean sagas. This ranks one of the lesser MacLean melodramas. Since Dutch authorities in Amsterdam cannot get a fix on the folks in their fair city who are smuggling tons of heroin to the United States, a dapper but divorced narcotics agent from Washington, Paul Sherman (Sven-Bertil Taube of “The Eagle Has Landed”), heads to the city of canals and barrel organs to see what he can do. Alistair MacLean astonished everybody with his dynamic “Where Eagles Dare” screenplay, but nobody will be astonished by this lethargic thriller that spins more time with talk instead of action. For example, sixty-four minutes elapses before director Geoffrey Reeves stages a decent hand-to-hand combat fight. Okay, the earlier fight scene at 21 minutes into the action in the hotel room where our hero stays qualified as a one-sided, disposable scuffle, even though the intruder died. Anyhow, this respectable mystery unfolds after three people are gunned down by a mustached hit-man wearing gloves and armed with a silenced automatic pistol. Dude drives up, walks in, and guns them down in the living room. The next thing we see is our handsome hero aboard a jet landing in Amsterdam. A man is shot at the airport where Sherman was supposed to have made a rendezvous with him. Anyway, Amsterdam authorities are not happy with the arrival of Sherman and the interference of a Yankee narco man in their backyard. The only remnant of “Where Eagles Dare” here is the use of a back-up agent, Maggie (Barbara Perkins of “Valley of the Dolls”), who does a bit of her own snooping without arousing suspicion. Yes, like the Mary Ure character in “Where Eagles Dare,” nobody is supposed to know that Maggie is a part of the plan. Maggie investigates a suspicious looking church where Bibles are passed out to nuns wearing fishnet hose. Naturally, Maggie and Sherman have an intimate moment to smooch before he proves his action hero chops against a thug who loves to strangle his victims. Meegeren (Vladek Sheybal of “From Russia with Love”) serves as the minister but you know that he is up to no good. Hmm! Meanwhile, Amsterdam Police Chief Colonel De Graaf (Alexander Knox of “You Only Live Twice”) resents the cooperation that he has to extend to the troublesome Sherman. Things grow more interesting after the heroine is murdered by the evil villain who wraps a chain around her neck and strangles her. Of course, we are not shown the entire strangulation, but Barbara Parkins does a great job of begging for mercy before she winds up dangling next to a doll whose facial features resemble her. Eventually, our hero shows up at the castle where the villains hide out. Not only does Sherman discover a heroin laboratory with dolls neatly arranged for packing, but he also stumbles into Maggie hanging from the ceiling. The villain tries to dispose of him initially by piping the deafening sounds of clocks chiming into his ears via a headset. Fifteen minutes of this will drive a man crazy, the villain warns, but twenty will kill him. Lenser Jack Hildyard does a good job of enhancing the agony that our hero feels by photographing him with wide-angle lens. The resourceful Sherman escapes. Eight-one minutes into the action, Don Sharp takes over from Reeve and helms an outstanding power boat speed chase through the canals of Amsterdam that concludes with the villain smashing into a gate. The villain wearing a white suit and fedora is a nice touch. Anyway, Sherman tracks down the villains behind the villain and a neat revelation occurs when they surprise our hero. Yes, there is a dirty cop involved in these hijinks. The chief villain explains that each doll can pack up to $60-thousand dollars in heroin. The finale includes a brief gunfight at a shadowy warehouse where the hero takes a slug in the shoulder and the villain takes a fatal plunge.
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 98 min
Genre: Action, Thriller
Also known as: Den usynlige fiende,Muñecas en cadenas,Кукла на верига,Puppet on a Chain,Esrar yuvası,Sezione narcotici,Holandska zveza,Kahlenukke,Poppen aan een touwtje,Traficante de sonhos,Marionett i kedjor,Lalka na łańcuchu,Alistair Maclean’s Puppet on a Chain,Holandska veza,Bonecas Acorrentadas,Кукла на цепи,Dödens dockor,Die Ratten von Amsterdam,Dødens dukker,La poupée aux stupéfiants,デンジャー・ポイント,Alyssodemenes koukles,Muñecas ahorcadas