For Eyes Only - Top Secret

(for eyes only - streng geheim)

GDR, 1963, 103 min, B&W
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Dramaturg
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Narrator
Cast

Synopsis

Hansen is a double agent working for the East German secret police. He has infiltrated the American Military Intelligence Division, part of a network planning to invade the GDR. Hansen’s mission is to obtain and bring back classified, top-secret documents. After the cover of several US spies is blown, Hansen’s boss suspects a leak in his own ranks and has Hansen take a lie detector test.

Commentary

This first East German spy thriller was a great hit with East German audiences. It was loosely based on real events from 1956, but the allegation of a Western plot to attack the GDR was fabricated—in part to justify having built the Berlin Wall. Some film critics described the film as “the answer to the first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962)."

 

The short film Disco Film 5: In the Heart of US Military Espionage included as a special feature on the DVD tells the story of the real East German spy on whom the film is based.

Awards

1964 National Prize, Class 3 (Harry Thürk, János Veiczi)

Press comments

"A communist contribution to the spy film genre!"
— Bodo Mrozek, James Bond's German Colleagues

 
"A cleverly directed and well-performed spy thriller!"
— Lexicon of International Film

 

"The storyline and the character of Hansen were clearly based on the Western genre in terms of style, tone and tempo."
— Zagreb Film Festival

Availability

Special features:
  • New digitally restored version
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • "The Truth, the Absolute Truth: Liberation Policy and DEFA's For Eyes Only," by historian Bernd Stöver
  • "Our Own James Bond," written interview with dramaturg Dieter Wolf
  • Newsreel 1956/29, A US Agent in the GDR, 1956
  • Disco Film 5: In the Heart of US Military Espionage, 1975
  • Original Trailer
  • Teaching Guide

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