Fear Is The Key (1972) a (ridiculously belated) review

So as I was flying to go see my daughter, I had the time to see a film in my vast (and sadly mostly unwatched) digital movie library. The film I chose to see is the 1972 thriller starring Barry Newman and based on an Alistair MacLean book, Fear Is The Key.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

I’m a fan of Alastair MacLean’s works. There have been some really, really good films made of them, including The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, and Ice Station Zebra.

There have been clunkers as well and this one, I have to admit, I was unaware of until it was pointed out recently to me.

So I purchased a digital copy of the film and, on the flight to my daughter, I watched it.

And it proved to be an enjoyable, if somewhat low budget and (especially those who are familiar with the works of MacLean) somewhat predictable thriller.

Here’s the thing about MacLean’s stories (SPOILERS FOLLOW): Often things are not quite what they seem. The stories are often pulpy action romps featuring “professional” men’s men and full blooded women who may -or may not- have their own agendas.

Thus the opening act of Fear is the Key didn’t really “fool” me and while it was very exciting I kinda knew we were being fed a bit of misdirection.

Again, I’m trying not to be too SPOILERY here so I’ll just leave it at that!

What follows is a fascinating story involving the search for …something… deep on the ocean floor and a lead character played by Barry Newman whom we’re not entirely sure what he’s about.

One could say some of the action at the very start of the film was excessive but I thought it was entertaining enough to kick start the film wonderfully before settling into a more of a thriller.

Again, I don’t want to get too SPOILERY but if you’re into MacLean’s works and adaptations into film, this is a nice one to add to the list. It may not quite be up there with the trifecta of Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare or Ice Station Zebra (IMHO the three best of the best ones) but its a great way to spend an afternoon… or in my case, a flight!