Knight’s Gambit (1964, Walter Grauman)

Knight’s Gambit plays a little like a serious, American James Bond variation. Roger Smith is a former CIA agent–he inherited hundreds of millions and quit–out to seduce Eleanor Parker for information. Parker is a disgraced politician’s secretary; they’re living in Spain, in exile.

The spy stuff is terrible. Smith’s boss–Murray Matheson–wears around long shorts and wears an eye patch. Smith is atrocious in the scenes with Matheson. The big villain is a mobster too. The script never explains that angle enough.

Parker’s outstanding as a woman trapped and Smith does show his conflict once he takes to her. Ted de Corsia’s fine as the bad guy and Chester Morris’s good as Parker’s boss.

Lorenzo Semple Jr. and Halsted Welles write Parker some excellent dialogue.

Good John Williams music too.

Grauman’s direction is weak, but nothing could fix the bad spy action finish.

Still, Parker sells it.



Directed by Walter Grauman; teleplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and Halsted Welles, based on a story by Robert Blees; “Kraft Suspense Theatre” sponsored by Kraft Foods; director of photography, Walter Strenge; edited by Carl Pingitore; music by John Williams; produced by Blees; aired by the National Broadcasting System.

Starring Eleanor Parker (Dorian Smith), Roger Smith (Anthony Griswold Knight), Chester Morris (Blaine Davis), Murray Matheson (Douglas Henderson), H.M. Wynant (Escobar), Erika Peters (Bijou), Vito Scotti (Tout), Louis Mercier (Mr. Salonnis) and Ted de Corsia (Mike Serra).

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