Night of the Fox
The commercials for this four-hour miniseries bellow, ”Only one man knows the secret of D-Day”— and it’s…why, it’s that Bridget Loves Bernie guy, David Birney. In this adaptation of a Jack Higgins best-seller, Birney is a World War II Navy man hiding on the German-held British island of Jersey. If he’s caught and tortured, the Nazis might find out about the Allies’ invasion plans, and…
But wait — this just in from George Peppard, playing a secret agent assigned to rescue Birney: ”I feel, I act; I’m a very existential person.”
That’s Peppard talking to an appropriately goggle-eyed Deborah Raffin. ”What’s existentialism?” asks Raffin, who plays an English nurse.
”Oh, it’s a philosophy I played around with at Oxford,” says the ever- insouciant Peppard. Pretty soon, Mr. Insouciance is playing around with Raffin.
Slow, with syrupy music, bad accents, and phony-looking action scenes, Night of the Fox is good only for living-room games like picking the best — i.e., worst — line of dialogue. From four hours of overripe tripe, I’ve narrowed it down to two lines. Early on, someone describes Peppard’s character this way: ”On the one level, he’s a scholar, a philosopher, a poet, full of sweet reason; on the dark side, he’s a cold, ruthless killer.” That’s great, but I also like this alliterative doozy from Michael York as Field Marshal Rommel: ”The risk,” he tells an underling, ”is allowing this dance of death we call our destiny to continue.” The real risk, I should think, is allowing this lambada of loopiness they call Night of the Fox to air at all. D-