Directed by John Huston with a screenplay by Walter Hill that was based on The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley, this confusing (until the end) Cold War spy thriller features Paul Newman in the title role as Joseph Rearden, who’s hired by Mackintosh to infiltrate a prison escape organization that’s being used by an aristocratic member of Britain’s parliament, Sir George Wheeler, to help political prisoners like the communist Slade escape to Russia. Dominique Sanda plays Mackintosh’s daughter, aka Mrs. Smith, who assists her father and Newman’s character, with whom she also has an affair. Michael Hordern plays Brown, who runs the safe house component of the escape organization, based in Ireland. —Classicfilmguide.com
Adventure in many forms is the theme of many of John Huston’s films. His characters are constantly searching for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (the famous closing-line of his debut film The Maltese Falcon). Huston glorified this chase despite its frequent disillusionment and false promise, since it represented a flight from the complacent virtues of ordinary life. Like Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Conrad, Huston regarded civilization as a false surface which thinly veiled a hostile nature. Only those who lived at the edge, on the margins of society were regarded by Huston as fellow travellers. In films as diverse as The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The Asphalt Jungle and Under the Volcano, Huston celebrated men who circled the abyss; characters who are driven to plunge head first into the void.
The son of the great theatre and film actor Walter Huston (who would win an Oscar under his son’s direction for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre) and crime journalist Rhea Gore… read more
One may wonder why John Huston trusted Dominique Sanda with Mrs. Smith's role. Was it in order to give an even colder atmosphere to this film about Cold War ? Did he think that the final scene would be more memorable if it was played by the constip... err! by the uptight French actress ? I don't know. Still, I liked a lot the Irish part of The Mackintosh Man with an interesting car chase and beautiful landscapes. But, as it's the 3rd or the 4th time that I see this film and as I nonetheless always forget its plot, let's keep it reserved to John Huston completists.Only.