The Prize Reviews
A group of Nobel Prize contestants arrive in town together to receive their award. A series of shenanigans breaks out in town with everyone experiencing something unique. Will the contestants receive their award and what type of trouble will the contestants get themselves in?
"There are some things that should only be done in private."
Mark Robson, director of Von Ryan's Express, Earthquake, Peyton's Place, Valley of the Dolls, Trial, From the Terrace, Bedlam, and Isle of the Dead, delivers The Prize. The storyline for this picture is fairly mediocre. The acting is first rate as the cast includes Paul Newman, Edward Robinson, Elke Sommer, Diane Baker, Micheline Presle, and Leo Carroll.
"I find honesty irresistible in a man."
I grabbed this off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because it starred the infamous Paul Newman. I enjoyed his performance but the storyline was boring, and a bit all over the place. Overall, this is a very average movie that isn't a must see. I'd likely skip this Newman picture.
"Can you imagine putting my old body in this beautiful thing?"
An international spy thriller, it offers us a gaze into an intriguing, though probably highly unrealistic, life of the Nobel Prize winners. The place is Stockholm, where the winners have just been announced. Among them is a rebellious American writer Andrew Craig (Paul Newman), looking like Scott Fitzgerald without Zelda or any noticeable depth or writer's aura. There is also a winner for physics Dr Max Stratman (Edward G. Robinson). Soon, Craig starts having doubts about Stratman's real identity, quickly becoming that famous ordinary man in unordinary circumstances.
This is a great example why the change in the late sixties had to come. Earlier in that decade, in the time this film was released, Hollywood had become too boring, recycling old ideas and the work of the old masters just for the sake of entertainment (sounds familiar, doesn't it?). There are few interesting elements here, which is only natural if you look at the participants. Lehman had the ability of writing smooth characters and luck to have them played by guys like Bogart, Grant or Newman. It was nice to see the later brining his naturalistic style to a Cary Grant role, as well as his showdown with the old school legend Robinson (the picture was in desperate need for more the scenes of them together).
However, this is far from enough. The picture overstays its welcome for at least 20 minutes, mostly because of a pretty slow start. The filmmakers, surprisingly, weren't able to use the extensive length to elevate the political stuff above the level of a sketch. It remained in the sphere of mere obligatory warning against the still existing dangers of Nazism. And Robson never really managed to turn the cheesiness of the love scenes into an advantage. That part also suffers terribly in comparison to Hitchcock.
So, if you are not a great Paul Newman fan, feel free to skip this one. Watch North by Northwest again instead, or run and get it if you haven't seen it yet.
"The Prize" is an intentional replica/homage of NBN and similar Hitch content such as "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "To Catch a Thief" (and foreshadows "Torn Curtain"), with Paul Newman reprising the dry-wit of Cary Grant.
In fact the NBN 'art auction disruption' scene is shamelessly copy-catted, but here set inside a nudist convention meeting for additional chuckles. In it, Newman, who's allowed to hide himself inside a sauna-towel, even parrots the very same payoff line to the police: "But EYE called YOU!"
Newman's the innocent victim caught up in a murder mystery (at the Nobel Prize ceremonies) that's really none of his business. The nudist scene allows Newman to end up naked in the hotel room of semi-icy blonde love interest Elke Sommer - just as Grant did in Eva Marie Saint's room in NBN.
The screenplay comes from Ernest Lehman, who - guess what - whipped up the NBN screenplay. Another NBN parallel is the appearance of the ever-grousing Leo G. Carroll. Another Hitch vet, Diane Baker (Sean Connery's sister in "Marnie") holds a key, though more sinister, role. Even the soundtrack contains certain phrasing almost exactly duplicating that of NBN. Camerawork/costuming also extremely reminiscent.
Sorry, but this film, nearly forgotten by both Hitch and Newman fans, never DVD-released. I soaked it up courtesy of TCM; you may have to fetch the VHS issue.
TRIVIA: the basic plotline of this film was used as the framework for the 1991 Leslie Nielsen comedy/satire "Naked Gun 2 1/2."
RECOMMENDATION: OK, it's not as good as NBN, but still quite excellent knock-off entertainment. Catch it if you can.
Pero me quedo con "North By Northwest" de Alfred Hitchcock, cuyo guionista Ernest Lehman es el mismo y repitio varias ideas de la pelicula de 1959 en esta. De todas maneras es casi igual de entretenida que la pelicula de Hitchcock. Y Paul Newman, como siempre, notable!
Entertaining Hitchcockian story that never turns too serious delivers some funny lines and provides engaging subplots and side characters.
Tongue n' cheek stuff. One of the first main-stream movies I recall with the eluded to-elusive Nudist nook in it!
Excellent cast, interesting twist which has & will continue to be copied!