Thursday, April 30, 2015


During World War I, Vivien Leigh is a designer living in Sweden who, as a citizen from a neutral country, can travel back and forth between Stockholm and Paris regularly on business. But actually she's a spy, passing military secrets, cleverly stitched inside of clothes, on to the Germans. At a nightclub, Conrad Veidt, a former German officer, is pulling a parlor trick in which he predicts what women will say after he kisses them. Leigh exposes his secret and the two begin flirting, to the chagrin of her British escort (Anthony Bushell). Then the plot twists: it turns out that Leigh is actually working for the French, feeding misinformation to her German bosses, and her last case is to find out who the head of the German Secret Service Section 8 is. And Veidt is, of course, the head of Section 8, and he has been charged with finding the double agent. Of course, this strains their growing relationship, to say the least. Some reviewers find the plotlines here a bit tangled, perhaps because Leigh and Veidt defy the typical wartime propaganda stereotypes; he's quite human for a German soldier and she's presented as wavering in her duty when she realizes she will have to expose Veidt. Both actors are fine, have good chemistry, and pretty much carry the film. An enjoyable spy romance which, even if it is ultimately predictable, is satisfying. [TCM]

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