In the opening scene Paul Lukas's character Martin Schulz are toasting to San Francisco as he is leaving soon, one can see they are standing in front of a picture that cuts off and does not go all the way to the top of the screen See more »
A German-American art dealer (Paul Lukas) returns to Germany during the 1930's after Hitler has taken power, in order to find, ship, and sell European art through his and his partner's (Morris Carnovsky) San Francisco gallery. Nazism's allure gradually creeps into his (Lukas') psyche, aided by his relationship with a wealthy baron played by Carl Esmond. Lukas ends up having to betray his family and friends in order to win favor with Esmond. His stay in Germany becomes fateful and deadly for the daughter of his partner (who is Jewish) who accompanies he and his family on the trip in order to gain acting experience in Berlin. Her stage debut qualifies as must see in terms of sets, photography, and overall impact. It's probably the best scene in the film. Lukas's character's transition is never fully realized. He constantly faces difficult choices and is under pressure from Esmond who, like any smart Nazi, suspects anyone exhibiting any sense of uncertainty or wavering commitment to the cause. In that aspect lies the film's major point, the differentiation between the two men, and the crushing consequences that await.
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