In some ways this anticipates Welles' Mr. Arkadin inasmuch as it is an uneven film crammed with brilliant performers, directed by an acknowledged master with a plot verging on the bizarre. Welles, of course didn't need much help with screenplays - if we exclude Citizen Kane - yet Pabst had three on the payroll two of whom, the exotic named Irma von Cube and Jacques Natanson, had some tasty credits; von Cube had worked on both Mayerling and Johnny Belinda whilst Natanson worked on Max Ophuls final films, La Ronde, Le Plaisir and Lola Montes yet none of these was remotely like Salonika - Nest Of Spies which moves from Paris to Berne to Salonika in the first two reels setting up encounters between top-billed Dita Parlo and the likes of Louis Jouvet, Viviane Romance, Pierre Fresnay, Jean-Pierre Barrault, Gaston Modot, Pierre Blancheur and Charles Dullin among others. Some are little more than cameos, as in the case of Barrault, a lunatic who manages to intrigue via a schtick with a melon; Louis Jouvet seems to be anticipating Akim Tamiroff in For Whom The Bell Tolls - on the other hand Pepe Le Moko was released about the same time so maybe someone figured Jouvet would make a passable Arab/gypsy fortune teller. For good measure Viviane Romance throws in an emotive song and a good, if slightly puzzling time is had by all. This is a film of moments rather than a whole but definitely worth seeing.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?