The Counterfeit Traitor Studio: Paramount Year: 1962 Rated: NR Length: 140 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English remix, Dolby Digital English Mono (restored) English subtitles Special Features: None S.R.P. $14.99 USD Release Date: July 13, 2004 Eric Erickson (William Holden) is an American and a naturalized Swedish citizen and oil trader in World War II era Sweden. It’s a great place to be for an oil man, since Sweden’s neutrality allows him lucrative trade with the Germans. At the start of the film, we find that Erickson’s name has appeared on a list of Nazi sympathizers in America, and he’s been blacklisted by the Allied powers. He becomes further dismayed to find that British Intelligence officers were responsible for the listing, and offer to get him off the list in return for some help from the trader. Ericson’s frequent travels to Germany under the banner of Swedish neutrality makes him a valuable commodity in the intelligence community. Erickson is the ultimate reluctant spy, taking on the job only to save his name and his business from ruin, brought on by the very spies he must work for. To make his role as spy even more convincing, he must play the part of Nazi sympathizer - losing his wife and Jewish friend in the process. Still, his reluctance diminishes over time, as he witnesses first hand the horrors of Nazi rule. This film is based on real events, and is one of my very favorite spy movies - riveting from beginning to end. Video The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The print shows its age a bit, via a moderate amount of dust and scratches - while it definitely could have benefitted from more cleanup, it doesn’t look bad. Colors are slightly muted and warm, and some blacks have a slight brown tint to them - I imagine that this is more of the age of the source print showing through. There is good contrast, overall, and a fair degree of sharpness - though it appears that there has been some filtration. Some details are lost in shadows, on occasion. There is minor ringing around high contrast edges, only truly noticeable during the title sequence. Grain is moderate throughout, as it most likely was in the original elements. It is always difficult to rate a transfer of an older film. Without knowing the condition of surviving elements, one can never be sure of how good a transfer could be. My guess is that most of the defects in the transfer are due to the deteriorating condition of the surviving prints used. I suspect that this transfer is, for the most part, faithful to the elements available. Audio Occasionally, a 5.1 remix of a mono source is done and actually delivers a pleasing aural experience. This is one of those times. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on this disc is very nice, offering up good frequency response, including a good deal of bass. Music is opened up nicely, and is the chief benefit in this mix. The track is clean and hiss-free, and seems quite natural, despite its monaural origins. It is surprisingly well done. The original mono track has been restored, and also sounds very good. Clean and hiss free, with good frequency response, dialog sounds clear and music sounds good (though I prefer the 5.1 track, in this respect). No matter which track you choose, it won’t disappoint. Special Features There are no special features. Final Thoughts This is a remarkable film, highly recommended to fans of the spy genre. Since a transfer to DVD can only be as good as the source, I’d say the transfer is adequate - displaying the defects of the print. I’d like to have seen a more serious restoration done on this film, but I’m thrilled to have this title on DVD in any form. Recommended.