City of Fear

A remake of The Third Man filmed in Sofia with extraordinary acumen and technical refinement, the beauty of the cinematography and the fluent editing combine to make a telling picture of Bulgaria without the apparatus of Soviet power, reduced in a sense to the old city and the great cathedral that revolves in the background of a traveling shot revealing its music, but the vigor of the treatment takes in a machine-gun attack by motorcyclists on a freeway, a sequence mitigated by technique but allowed to confer a realistic sense in total.

The Western writer is a journalist and good with his hands, his late friend has a new drug called Blue Mist and works with the Russian Mafia, the girl is a club performer. The military policeman is a woman who comes on like Col. Klebb but turns out to be very capable.

The subtle ingenuity of many a scene is nevertheless striking, such as the meeting with late lamented Charlie at the zoo amid bears, the interview with a mob boss in his limousine at the car wash, the finale at a rusted factory, etc.

The immediate precedents are the later Harry Palmer films, and intermediately in some sense Billion Dollar Brain, perhaps.