This spy sabotage adventure is set at sea during World War II and stars Marlon Brando as Robert Crain, a wealthy German pacifist who has disassociated himself from the war and is living in India with his Mozart, expressionist paintings and occasional visits from a beautiful woman.
Colonel Statter (Trevor Howard) is the bare-kneed British officer who “persuades” him to become a British agent whereupon Crain finds himself thrown into the war, blackmailed by the British into working against his fellow countrymen.
Posing as an agent of the Gestapo called “Keil”, he is sent on board the German freighter SS Ingo which is carrying a valuable load of raw rubber from Japan to occupied France.
An Allied destroyer is set to intercept the vessel in the Pacific and capture the rubber, and it is Crain’s mission to ensure the crew won’t scuttle the boat and send the lot to the bottom of the China Sea.
As Keil, Crain tries to win the confidence of the captain and crew, but Captain Mueller (Yul Brynner) hates the Nazis and part of the crew are political prisoners. The only Nazi fanatic aboard is First Officer Kruse (Martin Benrath).
In the days that follow, Crain takes numerous risks but succeeds in locating the scuttling charges. As Mueller manoeuvres to keep the Ingo away from Allied warships, Crain manages to disarm all the charges except one in the refrigerated hold.
As the Allied ships move nearer, Crain is exposed and the final part of the film is played out on the now listing Ingo with Crain and Mueller facing each other to the death.
Unfortunately, there are very few hints of the real Brando – just a few sneers, pregnant pauses and head tiltings. The rest is silence. Yul Brynner is also well below standard. George Takei appears in an early (uncredited) minor role.
Released initially in the UK (and some other markets) as Saboteur: Code Name Morituri. The movie bombed at the box office upon initial release.
Robert Crain (“Keil”)
Esther Levy (Goddard)
First Officer Kruse
Hans Christian Blech
Charles De Vries