What I Learned Today In Stockholm

prize175px-The_prize_moviepSometimes, abroad, I can feel alternate large and small. Today, while with a small tour group of central Stockholm, I asked the guide, Elisabeth, how many languages she speaks. “Ten,” she replied, making my own linguistic abilities (I can read six-and-a-half languages, and speak most of those reasonably well) feel very reduced by comparison. Then, Elisabeth launched into a story that was very enlarging, at least in terms of my movie knowledge. She was standing near a tiny street in the old town section of Stockholm, the Gamla Stan. She said that a 1963 Paul Newman movie had had a scene shot on that very spot. I rapidly wracked my brain: Early 60s? Paul Newman? “Paris Blues,” I thought, was shot in Europe; was there a scene in Sweden? Certainly not “Hud,” which was about as Texan as you can get. What then? Turns out Elisabeth was talking about “The Prize.” It’s based on an Irving Wallace novel that was not among the books by that writer that, as a child, I would filch from a neighbor’s house, Wallace being too dirty to be allowed by my mother into our abode. The story: The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Andrew Craig (Newman), who seems to be more interested in women and drinking than writing. When he arrives in Stockholm for the award ceremony, he is delighted to find that the Swedish Foreign Department has sent the beautiful Inger Lisa Andersson (Elke Sommer: remember Elke Sommer) as his personal chaperone. The story proceeds as a cold-war spy story. How I’ve missed this flick I have no idea, especially because it apparently turns up on TCM from time to time. (It apparently isn’t available in USA-Format DVD.) I won’t miss “The Prize” the next time.

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