|Directed by||Mark Robson|
|Produced by||Pandro S. Berman|
|Screenplay by||Ernest Lehman|
|Based on||The Prize|
by Irving Wallace
Edward G. Robinson
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography||William H. Daniels|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)|
|Box office||est. US$3,500,000 (US/Canada)|
The Prize is a 1963 American spy film starring Paul Newman, Elke Sommer, and Edward G. Robinson. It was directed by Mark Robson, produced by Pandro S. Berman and adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman from the novel of the same name by Irving Wallace. It also features an early score by prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith.
The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Andrew Craig (Paul Newman), who is disrespectful of it, and seems more interested in women and drinking. Arriving in Stockholm for the award ceremony, he is delighted that the beautiful Inger Lisa Andersson (Elke Sommer) has been assigned as his personal chaperone. At the hotel where all the winners are guests, Andrew is introduced to the physics laureate, Dr. Max Stratman (Edward G. Robinson), an elderly German-born American, who is accompanied by his niece Emily (Diane Baker).
The Nobel laureates for medicine are Dr. John Garrett (Kevin McCarthy) and Dr. Carlo Farelli (Sergio Fantoni). Garrett thinks Farelli must have stolen his work rather than reaching the same result through improvisation, and thus does not deserve half the prize. The chemistry winners are a married couple, Drs. Denise and Claude Marceau (Micheline Presle and Gérard Oury). Claude Marceau's mistress, Monique Souvir (Jacqueline Beer), is traveling with them and Denise feels neglected as a woman; later she asks Andrew to help by pretending to an affair.
That night, Max accepts an invitation to meet an old friend, Hans Eckhart (John Wengraf), in a park. Eckhart asks him to publicly repudiate the U.S. and the prize, and defect to Communist East Germany. When Max refuses, he is kidnapped and an impostor takes his place. Emily is not fooled for a moment, but since he is Walter, the father she thought was dead, she plays along.
The next day, Andrew is surprised when "Max" does not remember meeting him, and his manner also seems different. But there is no time to talk: Andrew has an interview scheduled. Depressed and angry at himself, he tells the press the truth: far from still being a great literary talent, he has not even been able to start writing the much-anticipated novel he has been "working on" for years. He has been drinking heavily and supporting himself by writing pulp detective stories, and is accepting the prize only because of the money. Asked for an example of developing a detective story, he suggests the possibility that Max may be an impostor.
Andrew is telephoned by an Oscar Lindblom, who offers information about Max. He goes to Lindblom's apartment and finds the man dying. He sees and chases the assassin (Sacha Pitoëff), whose name is Daranyi, but is thrown into a canal. A cursory police investigation, with Inger and Andrew there, finds no evidence of crime; they assume he imagined it while drunk. But Lindblom's widow says he is a makeup artist: exactly what an impostor would have needed.
Emily and Andrew follow a lead to a hospital where Max was being held, but he is whisked away before they find him. Emily leaves Andrew there without a car. On foot, he is attacked again by Daranyi and flees to a nudist lecture where he must remove his clothes. He gets away by disturbing the meeting until the police are called. They again assume he is drunk and return him to his hotel wearing only a towel. He has no key, but Denise Marceau lets him into her room--where she makes sure Claude sees him, producing the desired effect on Claude.
Inger has now seen enough to realize Andrew was right and has been acting admirably, and begins falling in love as she joins in his investigation. But the next day, Andrew is told she is being held hostage. Following clues Inger helped with, Andrew sneaks on board a docked German freighter soon to depart for Leningrad. Lindblom's body is there, and Inger is locked in with Max. Andrew manages to break them out, but at the hotel, Max collapses from the strain. Drs. Garrett and Farelli diagnose cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation. Farelli earns Garrett's admiration by improvising a crude defibrillator. Max is revived and dressed just in time to receive his prize.
When the impostor leaves the auditorium, Daranyi kills him; dying, he admits he is not Walter either, but an actor. Andrew chases Daranyi to the roof; Daranyi again attempts to kill Andrew but is shot by police and falls to his death. Andrew returns just in time to accept his own prize--and Inger's love.