Picks and Pans Review: Night of the Fox
What sharks are to nature documentaries. Nazis are to adventure films: sure ratings grabbers. That's why Jack Higgins's bestseller was the inevitable source for a mini-series. This two-parter will air around the country during the next three weeks.
In 1944, an American officer (David Birney) who knows the details of the imminent Allied invasion is shipwrecked on Jersey, the British Channel Island occupied by the Germans. The English send in a burned-out secret operative (George Peppard) posing as a top Nazi and Deborah Raffin as his mistress to rescue or kill the stranded Yank.
Ah, but there are complications (aren't there always?). Field Marshal Rommel (Michael York) is making a surprise inspection of the island. Peppard jeopardizes his mission to assassinate the German military genius. But wait, it's not really Rommel. It's a young Jew masquerading as Rommel. (I swear I'm not making this up. but I'm not going to spend three paragraphs explaining it either.)
It's not a bad yarn, but it's too flabby at four hours, with cardboard characters, terrible special effects and flat writing. Also, the lead actors are pretty long in the tooth—maybe that explains how they can chew up the scenery with such voracity. Ah well, sharks overdo it too.