Innocent Bystanders (1973)

111 mins | Drama | January 1973

Director:

Peter Collinson

Writer:

James Mitchell

Producer:

George H. Brown

Cinematographer:

Brian Probyn

Editor:

Alan Pattillo

Production Designer:

Maurice Carter

Production Company:

Sagittarius Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

A Dec 1971 Var news item noted that Sagittarius Productions president Harry S. White and producer George Brown were considering Ron Cook as director for Innocent Bystanders , but another Var news item from the same date noted that Peter Collinson was the likely directorial choice. According to HR and NYT news items in Dec 1971 and Jan 1972, Orson Welles was originally cast in the production. A Feb 1972 DV news item stated that Welles had been forced to withdraw from the production due to illness and was replaced by Donald Pleasence. A Mar 1972 Var news item noted that John Collins replaced Alan Lake in the role of "Asimov" when Lake suffered injuries from a horseback riding accident. The novel's author, James Munro, was the pen name of screenwriter James Mitchell. As noted in the onscreen credits, Innocent Bystander was shot in London, with interiors at Pinewood Studios and at Costa Del Sol, Spain.
       Several reviews of Innocent Bystander compared it to the “James Bond” films. In his LAT review, critic Charles Champlin wrote: "Stanley Baker ["John Craig"], looking for all the world like a mustachioed Sean Connery," noted that Geraldine Chaplin’s character is "a Bond variation" and called John Keating's musical score for the film "pure Bond." The LAHExam called Innocent Bystander "001 ½ ...a James Bond ripoff down to the zingy music." ... More Less

A Dec 1971 Var news item noted that Sagittarius Productions president Harry S. White and producer George Brown were considering Ron Cook as director for Innocent Bystanders , but another Var news item from the same date noted that Peter Collinson was the likely directorial choice. According to HR and NYT news items in Dec 1971 and Jan 1972, Orson Welles was originally cast in the production. A Feb 1972 DV news item stated that Welles had been forced to withdraw from the production due to illness and was replaced by Donald Pleasence. A Mar 1972 Var news item noted that John Collins replaced Alan Lake in the role of "Asimov" when Lake suffered injuries from a horseback riding accident. The novel's author, James Munro, was the pen name of screenwriter James Mitchell. As noted in the onscreen credits, Innocent Bystander was shot in London, with interiors at Pinewood Studios and at Costa Del Sol, Spain.
       Several reviews of Innocent Bystander compared it to the “James Bond” films. In his LAT review, critic Charles Champlin wrote: "Stanley Baker ["John Craig"], looking for all the world like a mustachioed Sean Connery," noted that Geraldine Chaplin’s character is "a Bond variation" and called John Keating's musical score for the film "pure Bond." The LAHExam called Innocent Bystander "001 ½ ...a James Bond ripoff down to the zingy music." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Feb 1973
p. 4562.
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1970.
---
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1972.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1973.
---
Filmfacts
1973
pp. 125-128.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1972
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1972
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 1973
p. 3, 13.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
10 Jan 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1973
Section IV, p. 1, 9.
New York Times
27 Dec 1970.
---
New York Times
16 Jan 1972.
---
New York Times
25 Jan 1973
p. 51.
Variety
1 Dec 1971.
---
Variety
8 Mar 1972.
---
Variety
10 Jan 1973
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
2d unit cam op
2d unit cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Spanish prod liaison
Spanish assistant
Prod secy
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Innocent Bystanders by James Munro (London, 1969).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"What Makes the Man," music by John Keating, lyrics by Hurricane Smith, sung by Hurricane Smith.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1973
Premiere Information:
London opening: week of 13 October 1972
Los Angeles opening: 10 January 1973
New York opening: 24 January 1973
Production Date:
18 February--late April 1972 at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, England, in London and Costa Del Sol, Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Sagitarius Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 October 1972
Copyright Number:
LP41502
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
111
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23356
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Russia, a group of prisoners, including scientist Aaron Kaplan, make an escape attempt from a Siberian labor camp. Several months later in London, the head of American Intelligence Group 3, Blake, meets with his British counterpart, Loomis. Explaining that he believes there is a leak in his group, Blake asks Loomis for assistance in locating Kaplan, who has developed a procedure to desalinate salt water that would be of great value to desert nations. After Blake states that they know Kaplan is somewhere in Turkey and has been in contact with his brother Marcus in New York, Loomis dryly notes that Kaplan was safe until the Soviets learned of America’s interest in him. Loomis then refuses Blake’s offer of money for help, asking instead for the secret Chinese plans to strike at Hong Kong. Unwilling to provide the sensitive information, Blake refuses and the men part. Later, at British Intelligence Section K headquarters, Loomis summons long-time agent John Craig, whom he privately disdains as past his professional prime. Wondering aloud whether Craig has truly recovered from his last mission, during which he was brutally tortured, Loomis offers Craig a “make-or-break” mission to find Kaplan. Assuring Loomis that he is fit, Craig accepts the mission, despite Loomis’ revelation that he will be working with two other agents, Joanna Benson and Andrew Royce. Craig cautions that the agents are too inexperienced, but Loomis tells him they will precede him to New York as decoys for any watching KGB agents while Craig seeks out Marcus. Days later in New York, Craig confronts Marcus at his apartment building, where inside, two armed men ... +


In Russia, a group of prisoners, including scientist Aaron Kaplan, make an escape attempt from a Siberian labor camp. Several months later in London, the head of American Intelligence Group 3, Blake, meets with his British counterpart, Loomis. Explaining that he believes there is a leak in his group, Blake asks Loomis for assistance in locating Kaplan, who has developed a procedure to desalinate salt water that would be of great value to desert nations. After Blake states that they know Kaplan is somewhere in Turkey and has been in contact with his brother Marcus in New York, Loomis dryly notes that Kaplan was safe until the Soviets learned of America’s interest in him. Loomis then refuses Blake’s offer of money for help, asking instead for the secret Chinese plans to strike at Hong Kong. Unwilling to provide the sensitive information, Blake refuses and the men part. Later, at British Intelligence Section K headquarters, Loomis summons long-time agent John Craig, whom he privately disdains as past his professional prime. Wondering aloud whether Craig has truly recovered from his last mission, during which he was brutally tortured, Loomis offers Craig a “make-or-break” mission to find Kaplan. Assuring Loomis that he is fit, Craig accepts the mission, despite Loomis’ revelation that he will be working with two other agents, Joanna Benson and Andrew Royce. Craig cautions that the agents are too inexperienced, but Loomis tells him they will precede him to New York as decoys for any watching KGB agents while Craig seeks out Marcus. Days later in New York, Craig confronts Marcus at his apartment building, where inside, two armed men attack them. After a violent, bloody gunfight, Craig kills the attackers, whom he identifies as KGB agents. In Marcus’ lavishly appointed apartment, Craig demands to know the location of his brother Aaron. Meanwhile, unknown to the two men, Marcus’ servant is an American agent who contacts Blake to report Craig’s presence. Blake orders the British agent brought in and, under the advice of the agency psychiatrist, simulates the electrical torture Craig experienced on his previous mission. Although the electrical device is not plugged in, Craig responds to Blake’s suggestion that he has been shocked, yet refuses to reveal his mission until Blake orders the drug sodium pentothal used. Convinced by the psychiatrist that Craig’s effectiveness as an agent is compromised, Blake releases him. Back in London, Loomis orders Benson and Royce to Turkey immediately, revealing that he intends Craig to be the real decoy and considers him expendable. Meanwhile Craig, angered by his position as a pawn between the agencies, returns to Marcus’ apartment where he finds Marcus’ ward, Miriam Loman. Craig forces Miriam to take him to Marcus, where, under threat, Marcus reveals that his brother has sent him a postcard from the Turkish town of Kutsk. Upon learning that Miriam also read the postcard from Kaplan revealing his location, Craig decides to take her with him to Turkey as a partial-hostage and guide. After arriving in Ankara the next day, Craig and Miriam drive part of the way to Kutsk before stopping overnight at a desert hotel. There, Craig initially rebuffs Miriam’s romantic overtures, explaining that being tortured has left him incapable of physical intimacy, but later the couple has sex. Arriving at Kutsk the following afternoon, Craig checks into a hotel, where that night Benson and Royce find him, aided by avaricious hotel manager Omar. Later, in a deserted barn, Benson and a bound Craig observe as Royce tortures Miriam for Kaplan’s whereabouts. After Miriam describes details of Kaplan's postcard to Marcus, Benson and Royce easily deconstruct its code. Declaring that she is a specialist in tying knots, Benson secures Craig’s bonds before she and Royce depart. Moments later, Craig easily frees himself and Miriam confides she left out a critical detail that has sent the other agents in the opposite direction from the true location. Soon after, Craig and Miriam locate a small farm outside of the town where Kaplan has been hiding as a goatherd. Before they can depart with the scientist, however, Benson and Royce approach, forcing Craig to shoot out their front tire. When Royce rushes him, Craig wounds him and sets their car on fire. Back in Kutsk, Craig forces Omar to take the trio on his boat to nearby Cyprus where he knows of a safe house. On the journey, Craig pays Omar for information and learns that KGB agents have been in Cyprus for some time. In Cyprus at the safe house, Craig presses Kaplan to explain his escape from the labor camp, but the scientist is vague. Having reported to Loomis that Craig has successfully captured Kaplan, Benson, Royce and their chief arrive in Cyprus and meet Craig, who wants to bargain for the scientist. Incensed to learn that both American and KGB agents are aware of Kaplan’s location, and personally affronted by Craig’s success, Loomis nevertheless offers him £100,000 for Kaplan. Craig agrees, but as Loomis only has a portion of the money with him, Craig allows Benson and Royce to accompany him back to the safe house to assist in guarding Kaplan. At dusk at the safe house, two KGB agents attack, demanding Kaplan. Royce is killed in the clash while Craig successfully wounds one agent and brings him inside for questioning. Kaplan identifies the man as Daniel, one of the men who planned the labor camp breakout. Before dying, Daniel tells Kaplan that his partner, Asimov, will kill him. Later, Craig lures Asimov to the house where he captures him. Asimov reveals that Kaplan betrayed the escaping prisoners for a guarantee of his own safety. Only Daniel and Asimov survived, the others were executed. Afterward, the KGB recruited Daniel and Asimov to find and murder Kaplan. The following morning, Blake contacts Craig for a meeting and offers him $1,000,000 for Kaplan, but Craig rejects this for Loomis’ earlier and smaller offer. While Blake and Loomis meet to discuss Kaplan, Miriam asks Craig if they have a future together. Revealing that he always knew that Miriam was a Group 3 agent, Craig regretfully says they cannot go on together. In exchange for the Chinese-Hong Kong plans, Loomis turns Kaplan over to Blake. When Kaplan complains that he has been sold for a low price, Craig reminds him of those he betrayed and that Asimov remains free. After Craig takes the remainder of the money and departs, Loomis questions Benson who reports that Craig is heading to Frankfurt. Determined to ruin Craig, Loomis contacts West German Interpol to request Craig’s arrest for stealing £100,000. At the airport after paying Omar his promised fee for his assistance, Craig happily boards a plane for Beirut. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.