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Alfred E. Green
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Andre Desormeaux, master con artist and jewel thief, has been very successful with his partners, light-fingered Polo and beautiful lure "Countess" Tanya Vronsky. But Tanya falls in love with one of their victims, resigns from the team, and (despite Andre's warning) marries rich young Paul Vernay...for love. Inevitably, Andre and Polo reappear in her life. Can Tanya outwit the master schemer? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Actor/director/writer Gregory Ratoff often did Lubitsch-like films -"Cafe Metropole" is one and this one, 1940's "I Was an Adventuress" is another. Light and delightful, the film stars Vera Zorina, Eric von Stroheim, Richard Greene and Peter Lorre. Zorina, Stroheim and Lorre are partners in crime - practicing the old bait and switch of the fake necklace that someone says is not fake after all but worth a fortune. The targeted sucker overhears the conversation and buys what he thinks is a real necklace from the unsuspecting woman. He pays way too much for a fake but not as much as the sale price of the real thing. Of course, when he tries to sell it, he's told it's a fake, but the thieves have left town.
All goes well until Tanya (Zorina), posing as Countess Vronsky, meets handsome, charming Paul Vernay, whom she attempts to set up for a con but ends up falling in love with him. She breaks with Polo (Lorre) and Andre (von Stroheim), marries Vernay and takes up her ballet career again. After several months, Polo and Andre need her to return, but they can't find her. When they do, Andre moves in for a shakedown.
This film is lots of fun all the way with some marvelous performances. Von Stroheim and Lorre make a great team - one, Teutonic and committed, the other, an apologetic kleptomaniac with a heart. Zorina certainly had one of the most interesting faces in film, beautiful yet strong, and she's wonderful as Tanya. Her dancing was lovely, with the exception of her very distracting arms.
Richard Greene was getting the big star buildup at 20th Century Fox when war was declared in Europe, and he returned to England to serve his country. Handsome with a to-die for accent, he just might have given Tyrone Power a run for his money, at least in some of the lighter roles, as I suspect he didn't have a large range. As it was, Greene became best known in this country for his TV series "Robin Hood." Here he exhibits warmth and sophistication as Paul Vernay.
Look for this film on Fox Movie Channel - you won't be sorry.
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