OFFBEAT Mai Zetterling

OFFBEAT. British Lion Film Corp., 1963. Also released as The Devil Inside. William Sylvester, Mai Zetterling, John Meillon, Anthony Dawson, Neil McCarthy, Harry Baird, John Phillips. Director: Cliff Owen.

   When Scotland Yard finds themselves up against a brick wall in tracking down a vicious gang of thieves and bank robbers, they call in Layton, a loner from MI5 (William Silvester) to work his way into the gang and help bring them down.

   Taking the new name of Steve Ross, Layton finds the gang organized like a business, a well-oiled machine, with salaries, fringe benefits, and best of all, a comradery that Layton has never known before. Well, perhaps, not quite best of all. One of the of the members of his new group of friends is Ruth Lombard (Mai Zetterling), with whom he finds an instant (and mutual) attraction.

OFFBEAT Mai Zetterling

   Much of the middle of the film is a caper drama, as the men drill their way into a underground vault filled with jewels – in plain sight, yet. If you thought being a crook meant not having to do manual labor, you would be wrong.

   Does Layton renege on his day job for the Yard, or can he find himself able to turn the gang in when the robbery is done? That’s the question, the key one, and after a slow beginning, I’d have to say that halfway into the film if not earlier, I was hooked to the screen, waiting for the answer. A minor film, to be sure, but recommended, definitely so.