Inspector Doppler (Alec Cawthorne): Is there nothing you would not consider a game, sir? Duty; work; even marriage?
Andrew Wyke (Lawrence Olivier): Oh please, Inspector! Don’t include marriage. Sex! It's sex! Sex is the game - marriage the penalty.
At a glance:
Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine perform brilliantly in this sometimes stagey, occasionally over-the-top, and often incitefully clever battle of class, wit, humiliation, and murder
Anthony Shaffer wrote the stage play and adapted it for the screen. Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine bring it to life. It’s a simple structure – for the most part, just two men in a house, having a battle of wits. One man (Caine) is sleeping with the other man’s wife, just to complicate matters. The other man wants some sort of revenge for this. But it goes much further than that. Olivier is brilliant, although the part he plays naturally calls for him to be hammy. Caine is, well, more than brilliant. His character is that of an up-and-coming hairdresser who owns two shops and has made the jump from poor Italian immigrant to someone who is a part of the British upper class, and he effortlessy slides back and forth between cockney and cultured. In fact, suffice it to say that the brilliance of Caine’s acting here will only be appreciated well into the film.
Other reviewers said:
"Joseph Mankiewicz directs this deft satire on the detective genre of literature that is both a metaphysical thriller and a psychological cliff-hanger."
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat (Spirituality and Practice)