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Prologue: in 1940, a shellshocked man fights to recall his past. Flashback: During the Nazi invasion of Poland, American reporter Carole Peters meets Polish airman Stefan Radetzky, also a piano virtuoso. Stefan is among the last to escape Warsaw; months later, in New York, he and Carole meet again, and marry. But the thought of his going back to fight is not only personally terrifying to Carole, but seems a great waste of his musical talent... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Anton Walbrook had aspirations as a classical pianist in real life so his hands are shown playing the piano. However, the piano part as heard was recorded by an uncredited Louis Kentner. See more »
In a cockpit close-up, during the final air battle, the "Poland" flash on Stefan's uniform is back-to-front, as in a mirror image. This indicates that the original left-to-right shot was "flipped" so that it coincided with the other right-to-left shots that are used in the complete battle sequence. See more »
Opening credits prologue: LONDON NOVEMBER 1940 See more »
Dangerous Moonlight is one of those almost completely forgotten films, apart from the music, and tracking the film down for the first time it is not particularly hard to see why that is.
The music by Richard Addinsell is the one component that people remember about the film, and it is also the best and only outstanding element about it. The Warsaw Concerto is very popular, is a concert show-piece and is still heard on the radio a lot, and judging from the hauntingly stirring and quite oddly beautiful way it's written for good reason too. Anton Walbrook is typically suave (though this is a long way from being one of his better performances), while lovely Sally Gray brings some poignancy to her role and Derrick DeMarnay is a suitably sympathetic confidant, his chemistry with Walbrook being particularly strong. The film is sometimes moving, and the aerial combat sequences are quite good.
On the other hand, Dangerous Moonlight was apparently made quickly and cheaply and it shows in some less than smooth photography, some choppy editing (like in the climatic dog fight) and some clearly artificial-looking sets. The script is lumbering and heavy-handed with some ham-fisted melodrama (Walbrook's dialogue is not always easy to understand too), the sometimes moving but thin story is really quite dull, over-dramatised and little more than nonsensical and heavy-handed propaganda, the film is routinely directed and the climatic dog fight agreed is choreographed pretty poorly. Apart from the three leads the rest of the acting is either wooden or overwrought, and Walbrook and Gray's chemistry while sometimes affecting doesn't ignite as well as it could have done.
In conclusion, loved Addinsell's music, but Dangerous Moonlight as a film on the whole left me cold. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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