Deadfall is a 1968 crime thriller directed by Bryan Forbes, which follows the story of Henry Clarke, played by Michael Caine, a professional thief who, in the company of his girlfriend, Bettina, portrayed by Giovanna Ralli, escapes to Canada after stealing a load of emeralds in France. Once in Canada, their plan is to meet up with Bettina's brother, a professional boxer named Franz, played by Eric Portman, and from there fly to Brazil where they will live out the rest of their lives in luxury.
But as soon as they arrive in Canada, things start to go wrong. Franz is dead, and Bettina is left to fend off the advances of his boss, the eccentric and ruthless criminal mastermind, Cesare Celli, played by Vladek Sheybal, who is also after the emeralds. Cesare is a sophisticated, but ruthless man who bends people to his will through fear and intimidation. He is always impeccably dressed with a cigarette holder in his hand, and his charisma and charm can turn deadly in an instant.
As the story develops, it becomes clear that Celli has become the main threat to Henry and Bettina's safety. Cesare is relentless in his pursuit of the emeralds, and Henry realizes that he has to move fast if he wants to keep them safe. Meanwhile, the snowfall in Canada becomes deeper, and the characters become trapped in the remote lodge where they are hiding out. This creates tension and claustrophobia as the characters begin to turn on each other.
Throughout the film, the audience is treated to flashbacks that shed light on Henry's backstory. He is a complex and interesting character, and Caine's performance is one of his best. He conveys the sense of a world-weary criminal who is tired of being chased and is looking for a way out. He is a man who knows that he does not have a lot of time left and is trying to make the most of it. He is charming and effortlessly cool, but also a little bit sad. He is a man who has lived a tough life and is ready for things to finally go right.
The dynamic between Henry and Bettina is interesting, too. While it is clear that they care for each other, there is a sense that they are not meant to be together. Bettina is feisty and independent, and she has clearly been through a lot in her life. She is a tough cookie, and she is not afraid to stand up to Henry when she needs to. Their relationship is complicated, but it is realistic, and it adds to the film's sense of depth and humanity.
The film was shot in Montreal, and the cinematography is excellent. The wintry setting adds to the atmosphere of the film, and the director does an excellent job of using natural lighting and darkness to build tension. The remote setting also adds to the sense of isolation and claustrophobia that pervades the film. It is clear that the characters are in a dangerous situation, and the audience feels this too.
Overall, Deadfall is a compelling film that combines elements of character drama with crime thriller action. The plot is well-written, the performances are excellent, and the film's atmosphere is tense and claustrophobic. It is one of Michael Caine's best performances, and Vladek Sheybal is excellent as the menacing Cesare Celli. The film is a classic crime thriller that will stand the test of time, and it is well worth watching.