5 Fingers is a witty and suspenseful spy thriller highlighted by one of James Mason's best and most enigmatic performances. In an unusual turn for a film of the early 1950s, the protagonist is both an amoral enemy spy and a charming, audience-appealing rouge -- the type of role that would later be called an anti-hero. This was the last of Michael Wilson's scripts to be produced before he fell victim to the McCarthy-era blacklists, and the screenplay is among the film's major assets, emphasizing Wilson's cynical view of the hypocrisy of government authority. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz keeps the proceedings moving swiftly, allowing events to flow from the development of the film's characters. Bernard Herrmann's score adds effectively to the mood. Both Mankiewicz and Wilson were nominated for Oscars, though neither won.
by Richard Gilliam review