Five Fingers

(Joseph Mankiewicz, USA, 1952)


Films that openly flirt with a sophisticated endorsement of amoral behaviour – from His Girl Friday (1940) and Billy Wilder's comedies to Tin Men (1987) and Hero (1992) – form a thrilling, subterranean current in mainstream cinema.

No writer-director ever took on the moral ambiguities of wartime espionage and interpersonal manipulation with more finesse than Joseph Mankiewicz, in this memorable 1950s classic.

The slippery emotional and monetary bond between James Mason and Danielle Darrieux – as, respectively, a duplicitous servant and a fallen aristocrat – is particularly well dramatised.

MORE Mankiewicz: The Barefoot Contessa, Guys and Dolls

© Adrian Martin January 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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