It is mid-1939 and both Germany and England are preparing for an inevitable conflict. Professor Horatio Smith, an effete academic, asks his students to come with him to the continent to engage in an archaeological dig. When his students discover that the professor is the man responsible for smuggling a number of enemies of the Nazi state out of Germany, they enthusiastically join him in his fight. But things are complicated when one of his students brings a mysterious woman into their circle, a woman who is secretly working for the Gestapo. Written by
One of the earliest movies to openly and unflinchingly discuss Nazi labor, concentration, and death camps. See more »
Although Professor Smith's first name is Horatio, in several scenes he is called Horace, by his brother, and others. Horace would be correct for someone called Horatio, that most famous one called Nelson, was as a child called Horace, this is well documented. See more »
Opening credits: The tale we are about to unfold to you is a fantasy. None of its characters are living persons, but it is based on the exploits of a number of courageous men who were and are still risking their lives daily to aid those unfortunate people of many nationalities who are being persecuted and exterminated by the Nazis. To these champions of freedom this story is dedicated. See more »
Concerning this film, I can't decide if my soft spot is for the always superb Leslie Howard, or for one of the old heroes of literature, resurrected to fight the nazi menace. This is a clever update of the Scarlet Pimpernel story. I found this re-incarnation of the classic much more enjoyable than the original. It was even more fun than another personal favorite, Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, who came back in the 1940's to do his bit for king and country against the Third Reich.
Albeit, very light fair, films like this were more to entertain and keep spirits high in not so certain times. The horrors of war can be looked back upon, but to push onward, the propaganda of the day was to show the enemy as almost comical foes, outwitted by the ever sensible Englishman. Leslie Howard plays this role beautifully and it remains one of my favorite performances by him...
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