In March 1979 a small scale but offbeat and ingenious little crime drama entitled The Silent Partner slipped into U.S. theaters without any advance word. A Canadian tax shelter write-off, the movie might have passed unnoticed if it hadn’t been for a handful of U.S. film critics who championed the release such as Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, who called it “a thriller that was not only intelligently and well acted and very scary, but also had the most audaciously clockwork plot I’ve seen in a long time…it’s worthy of Hitchcock.” And Janet Maslin of The New York Times called it “a dense, quirky, uncommonly interesting movie, this time with a high quotient of suspense.”
Over the years The Silent Partner has built up a considerable fan base and has become a welcome Yuletide viewing alternative (it is set during the Christmas season) to the umpteenth airings of It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. What most American viewers don’t realize is that The Silent Partner is a remake of the 1969 Danish thriller Think of a Number (Taenk pa et tal), directed by Palle Kjaerulff-Schmidt.
Christopher Plummer, out of his element and comfort zone in The Sound of Music (1965)
In interviews over the years Christopher Plummer would often jokingly refer to The Sound of Music as “The Sound of Mucus” or “S&M” but one can easily understand why he’d rather talk about almost any other film or theater production in his career because that 1965 blockbuster film was really a showcase for Julia Andrews. Plummer’s role as Captain Von Trapp was, in his own words, “very much a cardboard figure, humourless and one-dimensional.” Even though screenwriter Ernest Lehman collaborated with Plummer on improving the part, Captain Von Trapp was not destined to be one of the actor’s favorite roles. And having to sing was another drawback for him. As he confessed in his memoirs, he was “untrained as a singer. To stay on a long-sustained note was, for me, akin to a drunk trying to walk the straight white line…” Continue reading →