The Kremlin Letter

  • 1970
  • Movie
  • GP
  • Spy

Beautifully photographed in Finland, Italy, Mexico, and New York, THE KREMLIN LETTER is a hopelessly convoluted spy drama with so many intricate interweavings that you truly need a scorecard to keep track of the plotters. All the spies have code names, as well as their own, and a double-cross is the most minor twist. An American official signs an agreement...read more

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Beautifully photographed in Finland, Italy, Mexico, and New York, THE KREMLIN LETTER is a hopelessly convoluted spy drama with so many intricate interweavings that you truly need a scorecard to keep track of the plotters. All the spies have code names, as well as their own, and a

double-cross is the most minor twist. An American official signs an agreement with the USSR that both will attack China. Once the top dogs in the US find out about this unauthorized "Kremlin Letter" they want it back and gather a cadre of agents to secure the document. Jagger is the leader, whose

crew includes O'Neal, a onetime Naval officer; Parkins, whose safecracker father was supposed to go on the assignment, but his illness forced her to go in his stead; Green, the sleazy pimp in a south-of-the-border whorehouse; Sanders, a transvestite who hangs out at a San Francisco gay bar; and

Boone, right-hand man to Jagger. They begin by getting a lesbian to sleep with the daughter of Radd, a Russian spy, so they can use his Moscow flat as a base for their plot to recover the letter. Once there, they arrange a surveillance on the apartment of von Sydow, whose wife is Andersson,

already the widow of another spy. Von Sydow and Welles, a politician, are enemies and grappling for power in the Soviet hierarchy. Parkins and O'Neal become lovers; then she is captured by Welles. Boone leaves Russia on a trumped-up reason. But Welles is a traitor to Russia, and O'Neal finds that

out, as well as the fact that the letter has already been delivered to the bosses in China. Now we learn that American Boone is a double agent working for Welles. Boone returns to Russia, murders Andersson (who had figured out a way to secret O'Neal back to the West), then kills von Sydow. O'Neal,

who has had it with spying, learns that Parkins is being held by Boone and will be freed only if O'Neal takes another assignment--to return to the US and kill Radd's wife, Dudarova, and their daughter. This is more like a TV miniseries than a film, and it is so densely packed you need a shovel to

clear away the debris. Boone is a standout as the double agent, but it was sad to see the elegant Sanders, in his next-to-last picture, playing such a wimpy role. Huston takes credit for the direction, half the blame for the script, and does a cameo to boot.

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  • Rating: GP
  • Review: Beautifully photographed in Finland, Italy, Mexico, and New York, THE KREMLIN LETTER is a hopelessly convoluted spy drama with so many intricate interweavings that you truly need a scorecard to keep track of the plotters. All the spies have code names, as… (more)

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