THE RISK (1960)
Article 2266 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-3-2007
Posting Date: 10-26-2007
Directed by John and Roy Boulting
Featuring Tony Britton, Virginia Maskell, Ian Bannen
A group of scientists researching plague cures is denied the chance to publish their results when their project is put under top secret security. One scientist, angered at how the inability to publish the work because of the many lives that could be saved, ends up meeting a man who offers him a chance to get it secretly published. However, things may not be what they seem…
This movie spends enough time at the beginning of the movie discussing the scientific methods used for the research that I found myself hoping it would actually emerge as a full-blown science fiction movie. But once the government makes the project top secret, the plague cure becomes the Gizmo Maguffin in another spy thriller. My disappointment was checked, however, by the fact that it is a good one, with an unusual story line and interesting character relationships. A good cast also helps; along with the ones listed above, the movie also features Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasence and “Goon Show” regular Spike Milligan as a genuinely amusing comic relief lab assistant. Still, despite the star power, the movie is stolen by the most interesting characters in the movie; Ian Bannen plays the armless war veteran who turns the life of his lover (a female scientist working on the project) into a living hell, and has special plans for his rival (another scientist on the project), and Thorley Walters, who plays the special agent in charge of security on the project as an absent-minded eccentric. It’s the way the plot unfolds that really makes this movie work; we get to see how the various forces at work conspire to tempt the scientist played by Tony Britton into turning into a traitor. I really liked this movie, though the science fiction content remains marginal.