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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 her band of gypsies. Naturally romance develops along the way. Written by
Don Femia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A strange Nazi twist, with Dietrich glowing, and a nice old fashioned romance brewing
Golden Earrings (1947)
A tough movie to love, but the best parts of it--or the best part, that is, known as Marlene Dietrich--make it easy to like. The actions scenes, the chitchat, even the opening scenes where men talk with bizarre astonishment a man's pierced ears, are often unconvincing. Even the core plot, looking for a key German scientist before it's too late, stumbles over its own clichés. And even worse, a key weakness is the lead male, the low key and unemphatic Ray Milland.
Two years after the end of the war, when this film was made, there must have been a huge appetite for variations on stories about resisting the Nazis. This is a bizarre and highly unlikely one, not because Gypsies weren't involved behind the scenes in the action, but because the idea of a single gypsy woman taking in an Englishman who has to hide, for unexplained reasons, in Germany even though there is no war, is a stretch. (His mission is clear, but why an Englishman has to be undercover isn't historically clear to me.)
But this is what we have, and Dietrich, who is German and began her acting in Germany but by this point was long part of Hollywood, plays a very fictional Gypsy. She is used a little like she was in the famous Josef von Sternberg movies, for her "aura," which she had plenty of.
Most of the movie follows a series of encounters and difficulties with arrogant Nazis and between themselves. Much of the filming is at night, which is dramatic, and there are scenes of Gypsy camps that are part of a long line in Hollywood films. There is also an interesting followup of sorts from Hitchcock's "Notorious" the previous year, in the use of two key German archetypes, Reinhold Schunzel and Ivan Triesault. This is focusing on the details, which is what you have to do. Or just pull back and see a lovely romance unfold.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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