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EYE OF THE NEEDLE: 1981 (Included in Prime) We noticed with sorrow the passing of Donald Sutherland and wanted to honor him by reviewing one his older films. The Story: A ruthless German spy who goes by the name of Henry Faber (Donald Sutherland) is on his way back home from England after gathering information about the D-Day invasion for Hitler. Henry, who is actually the "Needle," a name that refers to his favorite method of killing, becomes stranded on Storm Island with Lucy (Kate Nelligan) and her husband, David (Christopher Cazenove). Lucy's strained relationship with her disabled husband leaves her vulnerable to Henry's charms. It was based on the novel, by the same name, from Welsh author Ken Follett. (It was originally published in 1978 under the title Storm Island. He renamed the book after the movie came out.) Is there anything Sutherland couldn’t do? He did comedy in Start the Revolution Without Me. He was fatherly in Pride and Prejudice, and in Eye of the Needle he was seductive, sympathetic, and sinister all at the same time. He played a lover in Klute and this film. After many years of paying his dues onstage and on TV in Canada, he acted in a string of counterculture-attuned war films, including The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, and M*A*S*H. Then he moved on to leading-man status in the likes of Klute, Don't Look Now, Steelyard Blues, Casanova, and Ordinary People. As to Eye of the Needle, Roger Ebert said, "Some people will find the movie slow going. I preferred to think of it as deliberate. It is effective, I think, to develop a plot like this at a deliberate pace, instead of rushing headlong through it. It was made with quiet competence, and will remind some viewers of Hitchcock. While the plot of Eye of the Needle is historically based on Operation Fortitude, a diversion tactic used during World War II to mislead the Germans about the D-Day invasion, the character of Henry Faber, also known as "The Needle," is purely fictional. Two of the critical comments on RT: Richard Marquand concocts a classic spy thriller with two great central performances. -- It is a swift, streamlined piece of entertainment and an expert thriller. Gary and I liked this movie, in spite of its old-fashioned look. GRADE B+

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