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Edward Everett Horton
According to the article "Hollywood's friends and foes" by Colin Shindler in the film history tome 'The Movie', this film " . . . though set largely inside a concentration camp . . . managed to avoid the mention of the words 'German' or 'Nazi' " throughout the whole movie. See more »
A minor gem...handsomely produced and well acted melodrama of the Nazi menace...
In the Ethel Vance novel, the role of the Countess is even smaller than it is in the film. The story has been re-structured to fit MGM's Norma Shearer (still the Queen of the lot at the time) and Robert Taylor. Taylor, always an underrated actor, gives one of his most forceful, sensitive and earnest performances as an American trying to free his mother from a German prison camp and seeking the help of the Countess to achieve his goal. Suspense builds as the Nazi menace (Conrad Veidt) threatens to destroy any hope he has of enabling his mother to escape.
Handsomely produced, although much of the Alpine scenery has a studio-bound stage setting look, it gives us a glimpse of Norma Shearer's aristocratic beauty and Robert Taylor in his prime--which should be enough for some movie fans. Added to that is the suspenseful story and an excellent supporting cast--including Nazimova as the mother, Felix Bressart and Bonita Granville as a pro-Nazi sympathizer. It all moves rather smoothly under Mervyn LeRoy's direction, a glossy melodrama that unfortunately has never made its way to video. Well worth watching, so catch it if you can on one of the cable stations.
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