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Gail Loveless, a spy known as Operator 13 working for the Union and Federal cause during the Civil War, posing as a Confederate woman named Anne Claybourne, meets and falls in love with Confederate Captain Jack Galliard. Dusguised as an octoroom maid at a Confedarate military ball, she learns and relays secrets to the Union forces that are devastating to the Rebel cause. Assigned to the case to track down and kill the spy maid, Galliard learns she is also the woman he loves, but proceeds with his assignment. He captures her but is in danger of being captured himself as Federal forces are approaching. Gail/Anne saves him and they part to wait until peace comes to resume their romance. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Harmonica player Larry Adler took offense when casting director Ben Piazza asked him to play Stephen Foster melodies off-screen in a scene involving a black child. The socially conscientious Adler felt it would further contribute to racial stereotyping. See more »
When Gail takes an oath, she raises her right arm in the traditional manner, but in the next shot, it has turned into a salute. See more »
Marion Davies plays an actress recruited by the Union Army during the Civil War to be a spy. Gary Cooper plays an officer in the Confederate Army who is a spy in the north. Through a series of events they meet, but he doesn't quite know if she is a spy or not.
Davies' initial disguise is as a Black maid (she has fun with the accent and looks great in the black wig), but when her "mistress" (another actress from the north working as a spy) is discovered, she bails the South only to return as a famous northern sympathizer of the Confederate cause. Back in the South, she again meets Cooper.
Implausible story is made interesting by solid performances by the leads and some good cinematography (Oscar nominated). The battle scene montages are OK, but the ending seems choppy and hurried. Still, Davies looks great.
Big supporting cast includes Katherine Alexander (as a spy), Jean Parker and Henry Wadsworth (as young lovers), Sidney Toler, Douglas Dumbrille, Marjorie Gateson, Sterling Holloway, Clarence Wilson, Ted Healy, Robert McWade, and silent film villain Walter Long (as Operator 55).
Davies sings "Once in a Lifetime" and "The Colonel, Major and the Captain." The terrific Mills Brothers show up in a minstrel show and sing a few songs and are especially good with "Sleepy Head" and "Jungle Fever." There's a stunning scene where Davies is sitting on a staircase and crying; the long scene is shot from below looking up at her face. Another nice scene is with Davies on a huge swing, being pushed by Cooper.
After this film, Davies left MGM and moved to Warners, where she made four more films before retiring.
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