The Defector (film)

The Defector (Film)

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The Defector (film)

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The Defector is a 1966 thriller film, starring Montgomery Clift, Roddy McDowell and Macha Meril. It was directed by Belgian director/producer Raoul Lévy.


Clift plays Professor James Bower, an American physicist, who is effectively blackmailed by a shady CIA agent named Adam (Roddy McDowall) to help the CIA obtain secret microfilm from a defecting Russian scientist. The reluctant Bower travels to East Germany undercover as an antiques collector where he encounters an East German secret agent named Peter Heinzeman (German actor Hardy Kruger), who is also a fellow physicist. Heinzmann is aware of Bower's meeting with Adam and his intention to steal the microfilm, however their mutual respect for one another's tactics complicate the proceedings.


This was Clift's last film, and he only agreed to star in it so he could prepare himself for his next role in the 1967 film Reflections in a Golden Eye (the role went to actor Marlon Brando). Although obviously very ill (he died less than 3 months after most of the shooting was completed), he still managed to give a convincing performance in what has been termed a very moody and sombre film. This characterization is in stark contrast to the exuberance displayed by his love interest, who was played by Meril, an obviously more youthful woman.

It should also be noted that less than 6 months after the release of the film the director Lévy committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

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