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The Zero Hour (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  26 May 1939 (USA)
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Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

26 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hora Trágica  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A decent film but there is just too much in the way of plot...
29 December 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

There is a lot to like about "Zero Hour"—and that is, ironically, a reason that the movie didn't really work overall. Let me explain. There are many wonderful individual story elements and characters…TOO MANY. Some of these would have made a great film—but it's simply the case of too many plot elements making for a muddled film.

The film starts with an older Otto Kruger falling for his much younger protégé. Despite some misgivings, he agrees to her proposal of marriage and they are on their way to tie the knot when tragedy strikes. He is struck by an idiot hit-and-run driver and is paralyzed. He then insists that they should not marry and wants her to find another man. Time passes. Despite Kruger giving his love her freedom, she has remained his faithful friend—and is with him like a wife. Over time, he's come to accept this and need her and they are content. All in all, this is a great basis for a story.

Totally out of the blue, the lady announces that she wants to adopt a child of her own and she's apparently already picked one out from the local orphanage. Where this came from is, like they say, 'right out of left field'. So is the sudden problem, as another man has already decided to adopt this particular child. Why she MUST adopt this little girl and no other is completely baffling. What else is baffling is that suddenly Kruger has changed his mind after almost a decade—he WANTS to marry the lady. And, oddly, the man adopting the girl also now wants to marry the lady!! This is what I mean by too many plot elements. It's a shame, as the acting was lovely (particularly the always wonderful Otto Kruger—a very underrated actor). But together, all the story points just seem too coincidental and hard to believe…and as a result, very unreal—as did the very expected ending. With a bit of editing, this could have been a much better film—though it's still worth seeing.

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