Saturday, August 31, 2002


This is a little-known wartime propaganda movie, made in England and released by Warner Bros. It plays out a bit like a B-movie variation on CASABLANCA. Griffith Jones, a very handsome British leading man of his day, plays an Intelligence agent who, in the days just before Germany invades France, is assigned to find out if Amercian dress designer Ann Dvorak is a spy. Of course, they fall in love. Ben Lyon (of HELL'S ANGELS), despite getting top billing, has a fairly unimportant supporting role as a drunken journalist. A young but still hefty Robert Morley plays a Nazi. Like THE CROSS OF LORRAINE, which I also saw recently and will review soon, I assume this was intended to be unsubtle homefront propaganda to assure Americans that France hadn't totally given up against the Nazis. When one character yells out, "Achtung!" the reply from a sympathetic character is, "Why, you're not French, you're a hun in stolen clothes!" Politically, the ending is downbeat, but the young lovers have a happy resolution. Dvorak looks a lot like Rosalind Russell in several scenes, but her acting is only so-so. Overall, slow moving, with a B-movie feeling, a couple of overly melodramatic revelations, and a bizarre fisticuffs scene that seems to have come right out of a Saturday afternoon serial. It does build to a fairly satisfying last 15 minutes, but it's not necessarily one to search out, unless you're a Griffith Jones fan--I haven't seen him in much, but I've liked what I have seen of him. He's also the father of Gemma Jones, who played the mother in both BRIDGET JONES' DIARY and THE WINSLOW BOY.

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