Emerald is an agent the Germans "have" inside allied intelligence 1944/WWII. With "help" from Emerald, the Germans catch Wheeler, believed to know the when and where of D-Day. Emerald is sent to be Wheeler's cell mate. Let the game begin.
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In April 1944, an allied agent is sent to France in order to rescue an "overlord" captured by the Germans. (An "overlord" is one of the few men who know the date and place of the D-Day invasion). To achieve this goal, he will be supported by a secret friend of the Allies, a very important German officer and the French resistance. But the S.S. is not resting.Written by
Luis Carvacho <email@example.com>
Like certain other film genres, such as the Western, the musical and the historical epic, the Second World War film was out of favour in the eighties. There were occasional exceptions, but apart from John Boorman's "Hope and Glory", which concentrated on the British Home Front rather than military action, I cannot think of any really great examples from the decade. There were to be no eighties equivalents of "The Dambusters" or "The Great Escape".
The central idea of "Code Name: Emerald" owes something to "Where Eagles Dare". An American officer with knowledge of the invasion plan for the D-Day landings has been captured by the Nazis. (In "Where Eagles Dare" the captured man was a general; here he is a lieutenant. Were such junior officers in fact entrusted with such vitally important secret knowledge?) In the earlier film, a group of commandos were sent to rescue the general from a redoubt in the Bavarian mountains. In "Code Name: Emerald", however, the Allies have a more subtle plan. Gus Lang, an American officer in Britain, is acting as a double agent, pretending to be a traitor working for German intelligence, whereas in reality he is being used by the Americans to feed the Germans with false information. ("Emerald" is the code name given to him by his German handlers). Lang is sent to Paris, supposedly to defect to the German side, but with secret instructions to find out whether the captured officer, Lieutenant Andrew Wheeler, has revealed anything under German interrogation.
Like "Hope and Glory", "Code Name: Emerald" has little in the way of military action. It is essentially an espionage drama of the sort popular throughout the Cold War, but transferred to a wartime setting and with the Germans rather than the Russians as the villains. Like most such dramas, it has a complicated plot where the heroes never know whom they can trust and which of the other characters might turn out to be a double, or even a triple, agent. An added complication is that the villains do not know whom they can trust either. One of the Germans is secretly working for the British- but which one? What lifts the film above the level of the average war film, or for that matter the average spy drama, is the depth of characterisation. Unusually, the German characters are not all stereotyped as one-dimensional villains. Admittedly, Helmut Berger's Ritter is a Nazi fanatic, but Horst Buchholz's Hoffman seems charming and urbane and Max von Sydow's Brausch is a Prussian officer of the old school, who loves the Fatherland but has little time for its rulers. That fine actor Ed Harris makes Lang a believable individual rather than a mere plot device. (Harris has been able to perform a similar service for other otherwise mundane thrillers, such as "The Rock", in which he not only makes the villain, General Hummel, believable, but also makes his motives, in part, understandable).
There is nothing particularly deep or original about "Code Name: Emerald", but it is professionally produced and acted and makes for enjoyable watching. 7/10
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