In other hands, romantic spy thriller The Tamarind Seed set in the Cold War and released when the USSR were still perceived as a threat, might have flopped, but in the safe hands of veteran director Blake Edwards, it’s both stylish and gripping. Judith Farrow (Julie Andrews) is a minor civil servant working in the Caribbean who falls under the spell of Feodor Sverdlov (Omar Sharif). Little does she know he’s a Russian agent, trying to recruit her as a spy but when her superiors warn her off, he decides he cares for her rather than Russia and the two plan to spend the rest of their lives together. But those lives might be short – a British agent who is really working for the Soviets plans to assassinate the two lovers…
This was Edwards and wife Andrews’ second film together. The Tamarind Seed works as a romance – Sharif just has to turn up to be dashing while Andrews is excellent as the reserved English woman harbouring secret passions – and the tension behind their possible fate moves the plot and their affair along. The Caribbean setting allows for lush photography and the rest of the cast, including BAFTA-nominated Sylvia Sims, offer the two lovers excellent support.
USA / 1974
Director and Writer: Blake Edwards
Cast: Julie Andrews, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Sims, Dan O’Herilihy, Oscar Homoloka