A man called Major is in Cairo after being released from a German Prison. He is there to proceed with his plan to steal the jewelry from the King Tutankhamen exhibit at the national gallery... See full summary »
A scheming promoter and his partner win a beauty contest after submitting a composite photo, convincing a chambermaid to help impersonate the fictional starlet; things go awry when a famed aviator falls in love with the picture.
Anna Zador is a secretary who's been working for 6 years at Count Willie Palaffi's bank. Every day, she rides to work on her bike and places flowers on Willie's desk, but Willie (the ... See full summary »
W.S. Van Dyke,
Roy Del Ruth
Edward Everett Horton
During World War I, a French girl is romanced by an American doughboy even though she is promised to a French soldier who is fighting at the front. She falls in love with the Yank however ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
Marianne de Beaumaniour is on her way to New Orleans from Paris to inspect the plantation she inherited from her uncle. On the ship with her are bondsmen, that are to be sold for slavery. ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard,
W.S. Van Dyke
When Clementi Suborin is found murdered, his secretary recounts to the police the story of his rise from Czech refugee to ultra-rich New Yorker. The tale of betrayal, womanising and fraud ... See full summary »
Yvonne De Carlo,
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Mary Robbins is a moderately educated, beautiful, young woman who owns the saloon called "The Poker". She is the only woman in the town of Couldee-making her the fancy of all the men there,... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
After the Cavity Rock, California Times Leader newspaper is chosen as America's typical small town newspaper, reporter Homer Smith gets to abroad and report on the war in a series of articles to be shared with other small-town newspapers. He has a number of adventures including having his ship sink while en route to Cairo. He meets another survivor, Philo Cobson, who gives him a message to deliver to a woman in Cairo - should he survive. He delivers the message but convinces himself that an American singer-actress, Marcia Warren, is a spy. She in turn believes he's the spy. Mistaken identities abound but it all works out in the end. Written by
Few laughs, no sex, a film by lazy writers for undemanding viewers
The comedy-mystery or comedy-thriller is a peculiar genre. Bob Hope used to make a lot of these, but I think they have become extinct, which is all to the good. It's a combination that guarantees some awkwardness and tastelessness with its jokes about death, and, in the case of Cairo, a wartime picture whose villains seek to bomb an aircraft carrier and kill 5,000 Americans, a great deal.
This kind of movie also gives a lot of license to the lazy writer. One has the feeling, watching Cairo, that a lot of bad jokes, as well as sloppy and absurd plotting, were let through in the name of irony. Robert Young plays an American newspaperman more unobservant and naive than the average ten-year-old boy (the movie wants to make sure, you see, that even the dimmest viewers realise he is screwing up). Jimmy Stewart might have been able to invest even this awful role with charm, but Robert Young was made for the part of the dumb cluck with nothing left over. (I have read that Louis B. Mayer, puzzled, once asked someone how someone with no sex appeal and nothing else could be a star. I share his bewilderment.)
Jeanette MacDonald, of course, sings ravishingly, particularly the silky ballad "The Moon Looks Down on Cairo," but she looks much older than Young (she was several years older, but looks as if the difference were much greater). They have one kiss, when he is cold and wet and she wraps a blanket around him. To call it maternal would be to credit it with more passion than it has.
The one bright spot is the shamefully underused, in this film as in Hollywood in general, Ethel Waters. She sings one number, Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen's delightful "Buds Won't Bud," and gives the movie the punch and zest it otherwise lacks. (But the choice is odd--it's a sweet little reflective number, and is here given the powerhouse treatment.)
I was for many years curious about this movie and thought it particularly difficult to find--it was never shown on TV. This may have been because of the scene in which Young accidentally fires a gun and immediately a few dozen soldiers rush out with their hands up, shouting, "We're Italians! We surrender!"
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