On the eve of World War II (1939) English officer Ralph Denistoun is in Nazi Germany on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula from Prof. Krosigk. He is helped by Lydia and ... See full summary »
Lavish production design, insightful drama, top notch Rogers
This is a super lavish production - the Art Direction and Costume Design are stunningly original and beautiful to behold, especially in the fantasy numbers - and both these categories deserved to be in the winners circle on Oscar night. Sadly it was only nominated in the Art Direction category and the Costume Design category hadn't been invented yet. The film did garner two other noms- for Cinematography and Scoring, neither one deserving, I felt. However, Ms. Rogers' performance and the Adapted Screenplay did deserve nominations and went without them.
That said, this is a thoughtful and insightful film - daring for its day - exploring psychoanalysis and repression and preceding SPELLBOUND by a year. It's an adaptation of Moss Hart's play with the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin score jettisoned with the exception of THE SAGA OF JENNY. The story about a successful fashion magazine editor (played on stage by Gertrude Lawrence) who is plagued by depression and headaches and must come to grips through analysis and dreams with repressed traumas from her childhood is constantly interesting and Ms. Rogers delivers a superb dramatic performance - one of her best. Able in support are Ray Milland, Warner Baxter and Jon Hall. Look fast or you'll miss Rand Brook, Gail Russell and Hillary Brooke. The sumptuous Technicolor design is awe-inspiring. This is a treat from beginning to end and not to be missed.
Why,however, are the final strains of THE DESERT SONG (by a different composer) heard throughout the wedding dream sequence?????? Let it be a mystery.
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