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House of Secrets (Rank 1956, Michael Criag, Brenda De Banzie)

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When Michael Craig got his big break in the movies, he was the last actor to be contracted to the Rank Organisation and was receiving £30 a week for his efforts. His break arrived – almost a decade after his brother, John Gregson, appeared in Saraband for Dead Lovers – in House of Secrets (aka Triple Deception), a forerunner to the James Bond movies that would later become British cinema’s most successful franchise.

Based on Sterling Noel’s novel Storm over Paris, Craig stars as Larry Ellis, a naval officer who bears such a resemblance to a counterfeiter that he’s mistakenly arrested by the French police. When the real counterfeiter, Chancellor, is killed in a car crash, Larry is asked to impersonate the dead man with the aim of capturing the rest of his gang and the head of the illegal operation. Luckily, there is some help in the form of a British police inspector, Burleigh (Geoffrey Keen). With a tense denouement set on board a plane in mid-flight and boasting a fine use of its extensive Parisian locations, House of Secrets is a gripping, ripping spy yarn.

Michael Craig (arguably best known for his performance in Yield to the Night, also 1956) makes the most of his opportunity to shine, while Gerard Oury also stands out as Pindar, one of the duplicitous gang leaders. Director Guy Green went on to collaborate with Craig four years later on The Angry Silence.

production details
UK | Rank | 85 minutes | 1956

Director: Guy Green
Script: Sterling Noel, Robert Buckner, Bryan Forbes,

cast
Michael Craig as Larry Ellis / Steve Chancellor (dec.)
Anton Diffring as Anton Lauderbach
Gérard Oury as Julius Pindar
Brenda De Banzie as Mme. Isabella Ballu
Geoffrey Keen as Col. Burleigh, CIA
David Kossoff as Henryk van de Heide, CIA
Barbara Bates as Judy Anderson
Alan Tilvern as Brandelli
Julia Arnall as Diane Gilbert
Gordon Tanner as Curtice
Eugene Deckers as Vidal
Eric Pohlmann as Gratz
Carl Jaffe as Walter Dorffman