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The other user comment misses the point of this film entirely; Passport
to Suez is not supposed to be a serious historical examination of what
might have happened had the Nazis gained control of the Suez Canal, but
a spy/mystery/adventure with some comedy laced in.
Warren William's final turn as Michael Lanyard is a real winner, thanks to a complex and witty script and the direction of the great Andre De Toth. The Lone Wolf films are always entertaining (with the exception of The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, which was nearly ruined by Ida Lupino) but Passport to Suez has a classier feel than any of its predecessors. The camera-work in the film is moody and atmospheric, William's first meeting with Mr. X is very memorable, and one murder scene that takes place on an Alexandrian street is positively stunning, something Hitchcock needn't have been ashamed of. The mystery is intricate and well-meshed, and the script features a memorable array of colorful characters--Gavin Muir's friendly and urbane Nazi operative, Sheldon Leonard's slick nightclub owner, Anne Savage's femme fatale, Sig Arno's eccentric stool pigeon, Frederic Worlock's uptight British intelligence officer, Jay Novello's sleazy spy, and especially Lou Merrill's phlegmatic but deadly double-agent.
William himself handles the atypical seriousness of the plot perfectly and reins in his usual enjoyable hamminess, while Eric Blore provides impeccable comedy relief(his reaction to the mysterious phone caller at the beginning of the picture is hilarious--I feel that way with certain telemarketers).
The propaganda in the film is mercifully minuscule; it has none of the protracted speeches that popped up in the earlier Lone Wolf film Counter-Espionage. Aside from Warren's remark to Muir about the "New European Order having no room for sentiment," propaganda is bypassed for sheer entertainment.
A worthy finale to William's illustrious stint as the Lone Wolf.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A very good film for Warren William to end his Lone Wolf career on;
after a break Eric Blore soldiered on as valet for a few more films.
This outing has an interesting plot, fascinating characters and
relationships, inventive photography and Fritz and Karl had to suffice
as the only links to the unmentioned Nazis.
The Baddies are out to get the plans of the Allied fortifications for the Suez Canal to eventually control the region and then the world ... How they go about it, get it and lose it is as ingenious as it is ridiculous but as it's the McGuffin it's not that important anyway. The similarities to Casablanca are striking but this is a good film in its own right - the inter-relationships of everyone (all slow, sly or slinky) and especially everyone to Rembrandt, Whistler and Cezanne and vice versa are engrossing to behold and is perhaps the film's strongest point. The badinage between Blore and William was perfect, hardly any serious exchange between them throughout, except when Blore was either tied up or being untied. Lloyd Bridges was wasted in this one.
All in all well worth watching as a non-serious potboiler, heavy political commentary will not be found here! William only made a few more films after this before he died of cancer in 1948, which makes Blore's hopeless look at the camera at the end with "Here we go again!" all the more poignant.
Enjoyable entry in the Lone Wolf series with ERIC BLORE supplying most
of the humor with some clever lines and scene stealing tactics from
WARREN WILLIAM, again playing the title role. It's a wartime espionage
story with something about spies, mysterious laces, the glass on
wristwatches and some '40s technology thrown in for good measure. All
of it is highly improbable, as played here, and yet it's probably just
the sort of escapist entertainment audiences wanted during WWII.
ANN SAVAGE is the femme fatale (as usual), but it's really Warren William and Eric Blore who share the spotlight beautifully, playing off each other with their usual dexterity.
SHELDON LEONARD has a good turn as a nightclub owner on the right side of the law and LLOYD BRIDGES again shows up in a brief supporting role.
Not bad, but not much above average either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** The "Lone Wolf" Michael Lanyard, Warren William, does his
bit here in "Passport to Suez" for the allied, or good guys, cause.
Lanyard prevents a plot by the Nazis to take over the rich oil fields
in the Middle and Far East in an elaborately planned Pearl Harbor-like
It's the Nazis plan to make a back door attack from the North on the Iraq Iran oil fields by invading natural Turkey! Thus outflanking the British 8th Army who's holding off Rommel's Afrika Corps at the Egyptian border in the South. The one thing that can make the Nazi plan successful is getting vital information on where the British 8th Army's armored and infantry units are stationed on the Egyptian/Libyan battlefront. Even more important is to get their hands on the layout-or map-of the minefields that the British had planted in the Western Desert in order to prevent an 8th Army counter-attack!
Called on a secret mission to Alexandria Egypt by top British counter espionage man Sir. Robert, Frederick Warlock, Lanyard and his good friend the bumbling Bozo-like Jameson, Eric Blore, are told that the Nazi's plans for the conquest of the Mddle and Near-East will go into effect as soon as they get their hands on the secret plans, of British troop movements and minefield layouts, from the British Naval Admiralty in the city. It becomes very obvious to Lanyard that there's a Nazi spy, or spies, high up in the British foreign office here in Egypt! It's only later that Lanyard finds out that the spy is a lot closer to both him and Jameson then he could have ever thought!
Somewhat more exciting "Lone Wolf" movie then what you would have expected with the smooth as silk and brainy Lanyard using his fists in him throwing devastatingly short left hooks, that could floor a Joe Louis or Billy Cann, instead of his wits to take on a gang of Nazi spies. Lanyard also gets to show off his flying skills by hopping on a WWI biplane and chasing and finally gunning down the fleeing Nazis. That's before they can make it back to preordained spot outside Alexandria Harbor, with the secret plans they stole from the British Admiralty, and be rescued by an awaiting German U-Boat.
***SPOILERS*** It was the Nazis sinister plan to get to Jameson's son British Naval Officer Donald Jameson's, Robert Stanford, to unknowingly have him get the secret plans for them. Using Nazi Agent Valerie King, Ann Savage, posing as a British foreign correspondent to get romantically involved with Donald worked up to a point until Lanyard smelled a rat in their not so perfect "Perfect Plan": Valerie's forged passport!
Knowing that time is very short with the Nazis about to put their invasion plans into action Lanyard together with Jameson now made to look by the Nazis as being in bed with them, due to young Jameson affair with Nazi spy Valerie King, have to work fast before the sh*t, the Nazi invasion, hits the fan! Lanyard & Jameson have to prevent not just the Nazis, who set them up, from carrying out their invasion plans but also keep the British Army, who have been given orders to shoot on sight, from shooting the two for being Nazi spies!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think when you go into a film and see that there aren't many actors
you recognize you immediately think.."Uh-Oh". This is one of those
A well known American person (or spy) gets a call and goes to North Africa. He's suppose to talk to some important people there but gets kidnapped and told if he doesn't co-operate they will kill his butler. He does but the kidnappers (who are nazi's with pretty amazing non-German accents) already know he will tell his superiors so they work out a plan to get what they want (the plans for the minefields in the Suez Canal) in reverse. Throughout all this we get a butler who constantly gets kidnapped and harassed and spies that, if you aren't blind or stupid, you figure out pretty early on. Will they get the plans before they get caught?
This one wasn't terrible but wow was it pretty easy to see who the double agent was. I mean very early on you see in span of 5 minutes 2 separate incidents that show no other perpetrator but 1 and throughout the film your suppose to be guessing who the culprit is. The fact that it had a young Lloyd Bridges didn't really help cause his role is very minor. The casting for the 3 main leads was good and were noted character actors but the leftovers weren't really that impressive. For a mild B-grade film it was fairly entertaining because of the Casablanca feel it has to it but it's still just a nothing special type of film.
The butler is the highlight for me. Also watch for the heavy who looks painfully like William Conrad of Jake and the Fatman fame. If you've got a spare 71 minutes then try this one and see some mild WWII spy intrigue.
Passport to Suez (1943)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Warren William is back as Michael Lanyard, aka The Lone Wolf, in his final entry in the series. This time out he's taking on a group of Nazis who decide to send him on a wild goose chase while they take care of the business they're really wanting to do and that's disable the Suez Canal. PASSPORT TO SUEZ isn't the best film in the Columbia series but I think there are enough good moments to where fans should remain entertained from start to finish. As with the previous entries, the main reason to watch the film is for the performance of William who was clearly in top form by this time in the series. As usual he has that cool, laid back style that works perfectly well for the material and he has no trouble bringing everything to life. Sheldon Leonard is pretty good in his part of the nightclub owner (a clear rip of CASABLANCA) and Eric Blore is back as the valet. We even have Lloyd Bridges showing up in the series yet again and playing yet another different character. The direction for the most part is pretty good as we get some nice style along the way and visually the film is quite good as well.
Warren William as Michael Lanyard, the Lone Wolf, tries to keep the
Nazis from getting control of the Suez Canal in "Passport to Suez," a
1943 film, and William's last as the Lone Wolf.
As with many of this type of film, the mission is a mcguffin in this well-directed mystery that is filled with humor and atmosphere. The cast is particularly good - besides William and Eric Blore as his butler, Anne Savage is the femme fatale, Sheldon Leonard a nightclub owner, and the cast is rounded out by Jay Novello as a spy, Frederic Norlock as an intelligence officer, Sig Arno, and Lou Merrill.
Most of the humor comes from Blore, and he tarts the film off with some great comedy over a phone call. William takes his assignment seriously; this is a slightly more sober Wolf. A fitting ending to a great run.
With a long bow to Casablanca Warren William as Michael Lanyard The
Lone Wolf gets an espionage assignment of which we're never quite sure
because the Nazis capture him and valet Eric Blore.
William has joined the war effort and the bad guys try to decoy him and the British authorities away from their actual purpose which is to bomb and disable the Suez Canal, lifeline of the British Empire. They've recruited no one less than Blore's daughter-in-law to be Ann Savage as one cool spy. Is there no end to their scheming?
The film is set in Alexandria and it tries to be a cut rate Casablanca with Sheldon Leonard as nightclub owner Johnny who runs a café like Rick's where intrigue is an appetizer on the menu. Leonard usually a villain, is William's stalwart friend as the spies come real close to making a fool out of him.
This was the last of Warren William's films starring him as the Lone Wolf. But the best was definitely not saved for last.
The importance of the Suez Canal in World War II cannot be overstated,
except in this movie where it seems grossly understated. Correspondent/spy
Valerie Blore (as played by Ann Savage) correctly appraised the situation
when she says: "Whoever wins Africa wins the war." The Suez Canal was
pivotal to the shipping of petroleum from the oil rich nations to Germany,
which required fuel both for production and for keeping its armor moving
its airplanes flying. Control of North Africa meant control of the Suez.
Even more so, it would solidify the grandiose plan of physically linking
Japan with Germany, a plan not likely to be effectuated. Still, this movie
loosely addresses the problem of Axis control if certain secret information
is leaked to the enemy.
As a film, if never quite stresses danger, with most of the action related to incidental elements: the engagement of Donald Jameson (Robert Stanford) to Valerie King, the bar owned by Johnny Booth (Sheldon Leonard), and the silly activities of the three counted-spies, whose movie names just happen to be Whistler, Rembrandt, and Cezanne. Most of the time the acting seems preoccupied with something other than what is happening. All in all, it seems a typical Lone Wolf movie where the danger of a nazi submarine lurking to get secret information is only slightly more important than the flowers in the hotel room. A major saving grace for this film is the acting of Eric Blore (as Jameson) who putters around as a sort of mini Winston Churchill.
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