Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
The English title of this different type of wartime drama refers to a chess player's attempts to stay sane while Nazi interrogators mentally and psychologically torture him. Werner von Basil (Curt Jurgens) is an Austrian who has been helping the church by smuggling its art treasures out of the country to protect them from the Nazis. When the Nazis roll into Austria, he is on their hit list and after being spotted at a chess tournament, he is picked up and imprisoned. His brutal jailers subject him to long hours of interrogation meant to break down his hold on sanity and accept their own scenario as the truth. When not being brutalized in this manner, von Basil is kept in solitary confinement, with only a hidden chess book to keep his mind focused and logical.
artist, art-theft, ballet-dance, brainwashing, church, flashback, health, mind, Nazism, profit, robbery, smuggling