Demetri Alexander (Helmut Dantine), is posing as a Nazi officer in the Greek capitol Athenes while working for the underground, and falls in love with Zaira (Marianna), another underground agent. They are separated at war's end and when they meet again he is a member of the Greek government forces while she has joined the Communist-dominated resistance movement.
July 3, 2012 Subject:
interesting and unusual war melodrama
Marianna, in her only film, does a great job and looks great as Zaira, the girl geurrilla. There are some inconsistencies in authenticity but they do not detract from a fast moving and well staged drama. Some interesting character parts and an absorbing narrative, treated in a partly documentary style.
December 29, 2011 Subject:
little Greece to be seen in this low-budget propaganda vehicle
Although the plot is set in Greece during and immediately World War II, the film was shot in Newburgh, NY, according to IMDB. This assertion is supported by the presence of buildings with sash windows (an Anglo-Saxon architectural feature), close-ups on typewriters with Latin instead of Greek keys, and supposedly German army vehicles (motorcycles and Jeeps) that look rather American. Apart from some brief shots of Athens (probably from news or stock footage), Greece is not seen in this film.
Leading actor Helmut Dantine, playing underground leader Dimitri Alexander, is the only notable member of the cast. The others did little or no work in other films, and director/producer/editor John Christian does not seem to have been involved in other projects. The acting is average, and a bit theatrical at times. There is little chemistry between the two leads although they are supposed to be madly in love. The German accents are phoney (Vienna-born Dantine might have done a better job, but here he's playing a resistance fighter).
With no exotic locale and little romance, what we are left with is a one-sided account of the Greek Civil War, where we see brutal communists who are determined to seize power and run death squads to eliminate opponents (or people who just seem to belong to higher classes, like Nina). The film presents the Greek Civil War as a simple struggle between power-hungry, Stalin-worshipping communists on one hand and other Greeks on the other, while omitting to mention prominent British (and later American) involvement and how the situation seems to have deteriorated into fighting only after British troops fired on unarmed communist demonstrators in December 1944 (the exact opposite of the tolerance shown in the film by the Greek Government towards communist demonstrators in a scene of the film). The communists probably weren't angels, but reality seems more grey than the black-and-white version offered here.
Still, in spite of all its flaws, the film can be an interesting curiosity for those who are in the mood. One rarely comes across US-made films devoted to the Greek Civil War, and it might motivate some people to try and learn more on the subject.
For a better early 1950s anti-communist propaganda vehicle, check out Tokyo File 212. It doesn't have the strongest cast either, but it was shot on location in Japan, has good pace, slightly better acting, and dialogue that isn't preachy.