The Holcroft Covenant stands as what I would call the “Ludlumiest” of them. Which is to say that, while not exactly faithful to the word of the book (review here), it retains that essential Ludlum feel as a film. In fact, it might even Ludlumier than the novel! ("Ludlumier" might be my favorite word ever, so expect me to use it a lot.) By which I mean that it checks most of the boxes that I expect from a Ludlum adventure: There is an innocent man—an amateur—thrust into the world of international intrigue. There is globetrotting. There are lots of great European locations—including the requisite Geneva—and there is Swiss banking. There are multiple parties after our hero for unknown reasons. There are double-crosses. There are triple-crosses. There is sex. There is violence. There are gunfights and car chases. And there is a plot so labyrinthine that I’m not sure even veteran spy screenwriters George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate, The Fourth Protocol), Edward Anhalt (The Satan Bug, The Salzburg Connection) and John Hopkins (Thunderball, Smiley’s People, Codename: Kyril) could explain exactly what happened.
The Contract) as a slick MI-5 operative whose role is successfully expanded from the book.
This is one of those odd titles that's recent and fairly big, but somehow ended up in the public domain, probably because someone at the studio didn't do their due diligence. That means that there are a lot of budget DVDs available, but all the budget versions I've seen should be avoided. Most are fullscreen. The version to get is the official MGM DVD . It isn't anamorphic, but it is at least widescreen, and it looks decent enough. (That said, this film could really stand a new high-def transfer!) Also, it's got some good special features, including an audio commentary with Frankenheimer, the original theatrical trailer, and one of those 8-page booklets MGM used to include with all their DVDs, which is actually quite informative.The Ludlum Dossier
Read my book review of The Janson Directive (2002) here.
Read my book review of The Bourne Supremacy (1986) here.
Read my book review of The Holcroft Covenant (1978) here.
Read my book review of The Bourne Identity (1980) here.
Read my book review of The Sigma Protocol (2001) here.