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The Counterfeit Traitor
The Counterfeit Traitor
Actors: William Holden, Lilli Palmer, Hugh Griffith, Carl Raddatz, Ernst Schröder
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
PG-13     2004     2hr 20min

There's no way out for American-raised Swede Eric Erickson. Either he becomes an Allied spy, or he faces a trumped-up charge of Nazi collaboration. "How does one get to be so cold-blooded?" Erickson snaps at the English ag...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Holden, Lilli Palmer, Hugh Griffith, Carl Raddatz, Ernst Schröder
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Espionage, Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/13/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 20min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Danish, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Holden's brilliant portrayal of World War II espionage.
Roger J. Buffington | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 11/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is terrific that this wonderful film is now available on DVD. This is a gripping story of international espionage circa 1940-44. Based upon a true story, William Holden turns in his customary stellar performance as a Swedish petroleum industrialist (of American deriviation--he had renounced his American citizenship, married in Sweden and become a Swedish subject) who is initially blackmailed by Allied intelligence to spy for the British and Americans. Since Sweden is neutral, and Holden has extensive business connections in Nazi Germany, he is ideally suited to travel about Germany and locate targets for allied bombers.

The development of Holden's character is superb, and the viewer truly gets a sense of what it might have been like to be a secret agent of this sort during the war. Holden functions by blackmail and bribery, and the film does a fine job of not glossing over these basic components of spycraft. The story develops methodically. While initially Holden is a reluctant, even unwilling spy, eventually what he sees of German methods and brutality converts him into an enthusiastic allied agent. The same is true of some of those whom Holden has bribed or blackmailed into cooperating with his activities.

The cinamatography of the film is excellent, with European locales giving an authentic air to the film. While I often dislike it when there is a narrative that overlays a movie, in this film it is done very well, and adds a great deal to the story. The storyline moves at a brisk but thoughtful pace, never drags, and this film tells a great story.

This is one not to be missed by anyone who enjoys a good spy flick. Highly recommended.

Fast-paced intrigue that makes you think.
DL Simmons | New York | 10/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even though William Holden's box office popularity had waned by this time in his career, his acting skills were never better than in his portrayal of an American-born Swedish citizen pressured into working for the Allies in WWII. A well-written script with interesting characters brought to life by a superior international cast (Hugh Griffith, Wolfgang Preiss, Klaus Kinski, Ulf Palme to name just a few). Besides Holden, Lili Palmer is a stand out as one of his German contacts, a conflicted Catholic who understands the greater good of what she has been doing but, as the bombs start falling, is tormented by the knowledge that the information she passes on can, and does, bring death and destruction to noncombatants, especially children. Lots of interesting faces and touches: a Hamburg dominatrix (complete with whip), the great face of the old stationmaster, the confounding of the tracking dogs with a blood and cocaine mix, the Danish citizenry openly defying the Nazis, the son-from-hell, and did anyone else notice the menorah in Gestapo Colonel Nordoff's (Preiss, fine here, once again) office? My only complaint is the quality of the VHS. This film recently aired on AMC and it was considerably crisper than my VHS. A DVD from the cleaned-up print would be most welcome. Regardless of the format, this is a movie not to be missed."
One of the best
thesavvybamalady | Prichard, Alabama USA | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I will never forget the first time I saw this movie. I ended up watching it from start to finish. That's how good it is. There are so many scenes in there that are so riveting, you cannot help but enjoy the film. From when he makes those statements about Nazism, and his Jewish friend, though shocked, took a back seat and let him be. Or the little Nazi boy who is the son of his German connection, want to tell the authorities about him at his own father's funeral. What a trip. I will truly keep you glued to your seat. Also his collaboration with Lilli Palmer is good. It will really make you wonder whether or not one will stand in the face of danger. It really makes you think. This is one of the best WW2 films out there"
A must see for war movie fans and anyone Human
Dennis Draper | Bloomington Illinois | 12/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film was a great depiction of how some people got caught up in the war effort against their will, but had their minds and wills changed by their expereinces in the field of espionage. William Holden turns in a perfect preformance as a synical man who learns the true meaning of doing the right thing. This incredibly compelling story should be seen by anyone who has ever faced the dilemma of doing a job that they disagreed with because it was forced on them by someone else who thought it was the right thing to do. Especially if, at the end of the job, they realized that the forcer was right. This movie is one of my fathers' favorites, and now a favorite of mine. See it ASAP!"