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Puppet on a Chain

PG 1972 1h 37m Mystery & Thriller List
67% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 32% Audience Score 50+ Ratings American DEA officer Paul Sherman (Sven-Bertil Taube) is looking into a group of drug dealers in Amsterdam. As Paul uncovers information about the drug ring with his partner, Maggie (Barbara Parkins), the two are led to a compound on an island that looks to be ground zero for the operation. Trying to gain access to this fortress, though, proves difficult as the American officers find the drug runners may be linked with an occult religious sect that runs the place. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (6) Critics Reviews
Myles Standish St. Louis Post-Dispatch There is a speedboat chase through the narrow canals of Amsterdam, Holland, which is the most hair-raising since those superb chases in Bullitt and The French Connection. May 27, 2022 Full Review Margaret Hinxman Daily Telegraph (UK) Speedy and silly, splendidly set in Amsterdam, with a chilling motorboat chase through the canals directed by Don Sharp. Jun 8, 2020 Full Review Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times [The characters] would not know how to operate an alarm clock if you gave them one, but they can defuse bombs and drive speedboats. And they devote their lives to doing things in illogical ways. Rated: 1.5/4 Oct 23, 2004 Full Review Eddie Harrison film-authority.com ...feels both generic and authentic, written while MacLean still had a knack for story and theme, but hadn’t yet diluted his own experience with silly and extravagant plots... Rated: 4/5 Jan 9, 2024 Full Review Mike Massie Gone With The Twins Boasts a spectacularly lengthy boat chase sequence - the finest orchestrated up to the '70s, and one for which this film would be best remembered. Rated: 7/10 Aug 31, 2020 Full Review Robert Sullivan Los Angeles Free Press There's no real character development, most of the action scenes are unimaginative, and parts of the plot are mechanical and trite. Jan 8, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (8) audience reviews
Audience Member Classic early 70s entry with an engaging plot line as the best boat chase ever filmed. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/25/21 Full Review Audience Member As good as the book. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Audience Member When three hippie drug-dealers are murdered by "the assassin" (Peter Hutchins) in Los Angeles, the U.S. government sends special agent Paul Sherman (Sven-Bertil Taube) to track down the European source of heroin that is causing the drug war. Sherman was born in Holland, but it is clear that Amsterdam's chief of police, Colonel De Graaf (Alexander Knox) is unhappy with having the Americans interfere in Dutch affairs. However, Sherman's direct contact, Inspector Van Gelder (Patrick Allen) is more cooperative, since his niece, Trudi (Penny Casdagli) suffered brain damage after a heroin overdose. When Sherman makes contact with a under cover agent from Washington named Maggie (Barbara Parkins), he almost immediately has a brutal encounter with "the assassin," indicating that the drug dealers have someone on the inside... "Puppet on a chain" was made and released about two years after its source novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean (first published in 1969). It was MacLean's fourteenth novel and this movie was the seventh film adaptation of one of MacLean's stories. This movie has been on my to see list for a very long time and it was quite of my liking. The famous Swedish musical artist Sven-Bertil Taube is solid as Paul Sherman and he has both the looks and the weight to portray a special agent. I love the slightly psychedelic touch in the film, the setting of lovely Amsterdam, the stunning Barbara Parkins, the action scenes leading up to the intense boat chase along the canals of Amsterdam, the morals of what drugs do to you and the touch of James Bond´s blessing hovering over its villains and plotline. Yes, the acting is maybe a bit wobbly and the green screens emerge every now and then. But, all in all "Puppet on a chain" is definitely ok in my book. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member This Alistair MacLean thriller is not quite as adventurous as some the other film adaptations of other novels, but it's a solid enough crime investigation with some trademark characters and twists, and a decent boat chase around Amsterdam too. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member WOW......WOW.......WOW......WOW.....BRILLIANT......AMAZING......FANTASTIC,.......GENIUS......SUPERB........man I have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is such a great movie 2 watch......its got a good cast of actors/actresses throughout this movie.......I think that sven bertil taube, Barbara parkins, alexander knox (.R.I.P.), Patrick allen (.R.I.P.), vladek sheybal (.R.I.P.), ania marson, play good roles/parts throughout this movie.......I think that the director of this action/adventure/mystery/suspense movie had done a great job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....man this is such a gripping/thrilling movie 2 watch, its got such a brilliant cast throughout this movie........ The famous boat chase sequence was directed by Don Sharp who was specifically hired to do it. Once he completed that sequence he was hired by the producers to reshoot additional sequences. Sharp: The chappie who directed originally [Geoffrey Reeve, who died in 2010] has gone on to produce some nice movies, and before this he had a good career in shooting commercials. And he's a talented man. But he didn't have a story sense then, as a director, and he and his camera operator, each set-up, you know, a sequence that looked like part of a television commercial and wasn't there for the drama of it, or just to let the audience know what was happening. And therefore I had to take parts out of, for example, a nightclub sequence. Seventy-five per cent of it was fine; only when it came to the dialogue bits between them did I have to go in and reshoot it, because it just didn't make sense - to shoot a couple of really good, important dialogue lines to do with the plot in a shot between the legs of a dancer . . . That wasn't exactly it but I mean that sort of thing, you know. It was done for a visual effect. Reception Sharp said the film went on to make "a mint of money" and claimed in 2007 he was still getting royalties from it being shown on television. man this is such a gripping/thrilling movie 2 watch, its got such a brilliant cast throughout this movie.......Its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.......I think that this is such a classics movie 2 watch, it is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch, its got such a brilliant cast throughout this movie.......I think that this is such a classics movie 2 watch, it is such a fantastic movie 2 watch, Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Seriously digging the 70s-tastic vibe. Not much more to recommend here apart from the chap who used to do the Barratt a Homes adverts. Telegraphed story, static and awkward Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Puppet on a Chain

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Movie Info

Synopsis American DEA officer Paul Sherman (Sven-Bertil Taube) is looking into a group of drug dealers in Amsterdam. As Paul uncovers information about the drug ring with his partner, Maggie (Barbara Parkins), the two are led to a compound on an island that looks to be ground zero for the operation. Trying to gain access to this fortress, though, proves difficult as the American officers find the drug runners may be linked with an occult religious sect that runs the place.
Director
Geoffrey Reeve
Producer
Kurt Unger
Screenwriter
Alistair MacLean, Paul Wheeler, Don Sharp, Alistair MacLean
Rating
PG
Genre
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
English
Release Date (DVD)
Mar 20, 2012
Runtime
1h 37m