6.2/10
230
12 user 4 critic

Cairo (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 17 August 1942 (USA)
Reporter Homer Smith accidently draws Marcia Warren into his mission to stop Nazis from bombing Allied Conwoys with robot-planes.

Director:

(as Maj. W.S. Van Dyke II)

Writers:

(screen play), (based on an idea by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Homer Smith
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Cleona Jones
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Philo Cobson
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O.H.P. Boggs
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Teutonic Gentleman
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Ahmed Ben Hassan (as Edward Ciannelli)
Mitchell Lewis ...
Ludwig
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Hector
Larry Nunn ...
Bernie
...
Colonrl Woodhue
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Mrs. Morrison
...
Strange Man
...
Mme. Laruga
...
Bartender
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's never been a pyramid scheme like this! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shadow of a Lady  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Davis' first film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Homer Smith: Have you ever been in San Francisco?
Marcia Warren: Yes, once with Gable and Tracy and the joint fell apart!
See more »

Connections

References San Francisco (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Light Burning Bright
(1942) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Lyrics by Howard Dietz and E.Y. Harburg
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald (uncredited) and The King's Men (uncredited)
Reprised by all at the party at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Few laughs, no sex, a film by lazy writers for undemanding viewers
25 October 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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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