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Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on the eve of World War 2. Written by
Weak story a bit out of synch, but the American odd couple lead a convincing charge into Nazi land
Above Suspicion (1943)
An odd movie even for its time, being clearly anti-Nazi and a bit of an American adventure on behalf of the British, but set in the months before the war began, earlier 1939. Yet it was made and was released in the thick of the war, four years later, well after even the Americans were involved. It must have seemed a bit lightweight at the time, and it certainly is a bit breezy now, too.
Joan Crawford is at her best when life is going wrong, when the screws are applied or when she has to be a tough and independent women. Here she plays a cheerful and rather carefree newlywed. What Crawford character is truly carefree? Well, in this case her husband is perfectly cast, because Fred MacMurray knows what carefree is better than anything. When the Nazi threat becomes violent, things turn out rather okay, at least at first. The only other actor of note is the Nazi figure, played by the guy who plays Sherlock in all those B-Movie Sherlock Holmes films, Basil Rathbone, and you can't quite make him out as the evil menace he needs to be.
Of course, our leading odd couple has been chosen for this mission by some knowing British officials who see the American innocence as a perfect cover for what is actually pretty dangerous stuff. And the movie, despite all these essential weaknesses, is really fun and a bit dramatic and very well made. Yes, it's a good movie, if far from a great one in either importance or effect.
The director, Richard Thorpe, is one of the step-in-when-needed guys with a bunch of B-movies under his belt, and an assortment of mediocre oddballs (a Tarzan movie, the last Thin Man, a Presley movie--Jailhouse Rock--some Westerns, and so on). It might be a miracle this is as workable as it is. The script is fair, but the mood and the setting is terrific. And really, as mismatched as they seem, Crawford and MacMurray are not half bad together. They certainly are trying very hard.
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