Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine play romantic rivals who engage in a dangerous game of wits in this Stage-to-Screen classic.
Laurence Olivier is Andrew Wyke, a wealthy mystery novelist who enjoys games and puzzles, so much so that his house is almost like an amusement park ride. Michael Caine is Milo Tindle, the hairdresser who is having an affair with Andrew's wife. Andrew invites Milo to his mansion one day, hoping to help in providing his wife with a comfortable life once she leaves him for Milo. What results is a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse where each man tries to out do the other.
One of the main successes in the film is the brilliant performances by the two leads. Laurence Olivier is wonderfully witty in the role of the snobby writer who believes that his intelligence and wit are much superior to the lower class Milo. And Michael Caine is equally good as a man who's struggled his whole life and is using his school of hard knocks education to one-up the wealthy Andrew.
The script crackles with wit, offering up zinger after zinger as the rivals attempt to cut eachother down, adding a touch of class-ism with Andrew's view of Milo. Considering that the film largely takes place within Andrew's estate, it's a challenge to keep the viewer interest, but director Joseph L. Mankiewicz keeps the set cluttered with Andrew's possessions so that there is always something to look at, even though the acting ensures that you shouldn't be bored.
It's a great film to see, with two wonderful performances with an equally great script.
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