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
Really, they could have gone to 2-1/2. Would it have killed them? When I see two stars, I expect to see a complete disaster.
"Cairo" from 1942 is a bit convoluted, but there are some fun moments. The film stars Robert Young, Jeannette MacDonald, Ethel Waters, Lionel Atwill, Eduardo Ciannelli and Reginald Owen.
Part of the problem with "Cairo" is you're not sure what you're watching - musical, comedy, drama, what? It's a comedy with music, but a bit unsure of itself. Young plays Homer Smith, a newspaper reporter who suspects the famous singer/movie star Marcia Warren of being a Nazi spy. She suspects him of being one as well. The best scene occurs when they go out for an evening, manage to get away from one another, and each go back to MacDonald's house to search the other's room. There's also a joke with her high C, which inadvertently opens a secret passage.
One of the assets of "Cairo" is Jeannette MacDonald, who was so beautiful, and here she's in good voice and very appealing in her performances. Ethel Waters is wonderful, though she certainly could have done more. Young was never a top-flight movie star, but he does okay. MacDonald is excellent, very charming and funny.
With a little work on the script, this could have been an excellent film. However, it looks like it was rushed out as a propaganda movie and done on the cheap. The film has some great in jokes. When Marcia Warren and Homer Smith question one another, they learn that they are both from California. She's from the north; he's from the south. Both denigrate where the other lives. Finally Smith says to her, "Have you ever been to San Francisco?" "Once," she answers, "with Gable and Tracy and the joint fell apart."
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