The irrepressible Hayley Mills we fell in love with in "Pollyanna" and "The Parent Trap" doesn't fare so well in this misguided suspense drama. Teenage Nikky Ferris (Mills) and her musicologist aunt (Joan Greenwood) are visiting Crete to collect folk songs. They stay at the Moon-Spinners Inn, owned by the very sinister Stratos (Eli Wallach) and his meek sister (Irene Papas). There, Nikky meets fellow Brit Mark Camford, who is both charming and mysterious, and likes to roam the coastline alone at night. As the plot thickens, Nikky learns the connection between Mark and Stratos and finds her life is in danger.
This poorly-written story never builds up any intensity because the audience isn't let in on the secret until half way through the film. Up until then, the characters meander endlessly and aimlessly around the island; people are shot and kidnapped, but since we don't know why, we don't care. There are no real thrills, the outcome is never in question, and the trumped-up romance is really awkward. The idea of giving Hayley a more grown-up role falls flat, as the victim of teenage complexion and extra pounds still looks like a hyper-active youngster, way too young for her leading man. Wallach and Greenwood overact shamelessly while Papas is wasted with just a few lines. The island photography is lovely, but many outdoor scenes are obviously filmed in a studio. Hayley's many fans may enjoy this film, but I was disappointed.
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