This is the tale of life in a British port in the first year of World War II. Spies and smugglers abound in the blackout and unreal shore life of the "phoney war" (before the shooting started). Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
Michael Powell's golden cocker spaniels Erik and Spangle make their first appearance on film at the house of the aunt of Mrs. Sorensen. See more »
The bigger the ship, the smaller the adventure. The smaller the ship, the bigger the adventure. But you wouldn't understand that. Because you have childish ideas about life. Because like so many women you live only for little excitements like, er...
Well, like going out every night, somewhere new, somebody new. Right?
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"White Negro" caberet designed & executed by Hedley Briggs. See more »
The advertisement about this film from Kino Video led me to think I was going to see an exciting spy story with noirish overtones and a Hitchcockian twist.
It is nothing of the sort.
If Hitchcock had made this film, smooth, suave Cary Grant would have had the lead, and he would have been opposite a cool, sophisticated blonde. Before the film had ended, Grant would have melted her coolness for a final kiss or, as in "North By Northwest," an implication of sexual surrender.
Here we are asked to accept Conrad Veidt, at age 47 and looking every year of it just three years before his death, in the Cary Grant role and Valerie Hobson, twenty-four years his junior, in the cool blonde part. There is just about no one further removed from Cary Grant than Conrad Veidt. However, it was interesting to see him playing someone other than a villain, but at the same time, I realized that such roles were his forte.
Of course, Valerie Hobson isn't blond. And here she looked like Merle Oberon and acted as stiffly. There were absolutely no sparks between Hobson and Veidt, to say nothing of the dialogue which was totally unwitty and without any double entendres. I suspect that Kino's publicity about the Hitchcockian touch had in mind Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps," where Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll must put up with each other against their wills.
I cared nothing for the characters. The film had no narrative thrust (what happens next?). It was a total waste of my time.
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