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Determined, independent Bridie Quilty comes of age in 1944 Ireland thinking all Englishmen are devils. Her desire to join the IRA meets no encouragement, but a German spy finds her easy to recruit. We next find her working in a pub near a British military prison, using her sex appeal in the service of the enemy. But chance puts a really vital secret into her hands, leading to a chase involving Bridie, a British officer who's fallen for her, a German agent unknown to them both, and the police...paralleled by Bridie's own internal conflicts. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Deborah Kerr is a determined Irish lass who hates the British and Oliver Cromwell in "I See a Dark Stranger," a 1946 film also starring Trevor Howard and Raymond Huntley. There are also a couple of names in the cast worth noting and watching for: Celia Johnson (The Ladykillers) and Joan Hickson, a well-known Miss Marple is uncredited as a hotel manager.
Kerr also narrates the thoughts of her character, Bridey, as she leaves her small town for Dublin in 1944, when she turns 21, determined to join the Irish Republican Army. She is rebuffed but eventually recruited by a German spy. Bridey goes to work at a pub near a British prison for the military. She winds up with a valuable document and, since her contact is dead, she has no idea what to do with it. The Germans are after her and later, so are the bumbling police. On top of this, she has a British officer (Howard) who likes her and seems to be following her around.
If you're British or Irish and watch this film, especially if you know something about the British and Irish in World War II, this film will resonate with you in a way that it cannot for Americans. Ireland did not support the British in the war; they remained neutral. That was the country itself. The people in it were divided. The militant part of the IRA bombed different parts of England with the help of the Nazis, for instance. Also, Eamon DeValera, for all the neutrality, didn't want Nazi agents in Ireland and had them arrested.
"I See a Dark Stranger" vacillates between comedy and drama easily, aided by Kerr's dead serious performance which makes some of the moments even funnier. Bridey has no sense of humor. She's great because an advance by a man doesn't just insult her - it infuriates her - and all of her emotions are that way. The last moment of the film made me laugh out loud. Her thought process told in narration is wonderful. In this movie, she reminds me very much of Maureen O'Hara who often had that same no-nonsense air about her. Trevor Howard gives a performance which offsets Kerr's intensity very well.
A young beauty when she made this, this film apparently brought Kerr to the attention of Hollywood as it should have. If you're a fan of hers, don't miss this delightful early performance in this very good movie.
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