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Shining Through (1992)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  31 January 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 7,074 users  
Reviews: 96 user | 17 critic

An American woman of Irish, Jewish-German parentage goes undercover in Nazi Germany.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Leland
Linda Voss
Franze-Otto Dietrich
Margrete Von Eberstein
Andrew Berringer
Patrick Winczewski ...
Anthony Walters ...
Dietrich's Son
Victoria Shalet ...
Dietrich's Daughter
Sheila Allen ...
Olga Leiner, Margrete's Mother
Stanley Beard ...
Linda's Father
Linda's Mother
Ronald Nitschke ...
Horst Drescher
Hedda Drescher
Peter Flechtner ...
S.S. Officer at Fish Market


1940, Linda Voss is a woman of Irish, Jewish-German parentage who loves the movies, especially films about war and spies. She gets a job at a New York law firm, after it's revealed she can speak German, fluently. As secretary and translator to Ed Leland, she begins to suspect that her boss is involved in espionage work. The two become lovers, and when America officially joins the Allies in fighting Hitler, Linda volunteers to go undercover behind enemy lines. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He needed to trust her with his secret. She had to trust him with her life.


Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

31 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Uma Luz na Escuridão  »

Box Office


$21,733,781 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


| (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In Ed Leland's office Linda explains how she comes to know something about spying and refers to a film in which a character's tongue is cut out and says, "Have you seen 'The Fighting 69th'." The "Fighting 69th" was O.S.S. Bill Donovan's regiment in World War One. See more »


Franz-Otto Dietrich is going to a concert with Linda Voss. He mentions that the conductor is Herbert Von Karajan. Karajan was born in 1908 and therefore in his mid-thirties during the war. The conductor in the movie is quite old and has gray hair. In a photo from 1938 Karajan's hair was still jet-black. See more »


Ed Leland: [being interviewed] Your grandmother, she insists you speak...
Linda Voss: German? She doesn't speak English.
Ed Leland: She's lived here for...
Linda Voss: My sixth grade teacher used to do that.
Ed Leland: Beg your pardon?
Linda Voss: Used to start a question and not finish it. Like, "the capital of Indiana is..."
See more »


References Casablanca (1942) See more »


(I've Got A Gal in) Kalamazoo
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon
See more »

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User Reviews

Leaden, Ludicrous World War Two Spy Saga
4 July 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Melanie Griffith plays Linda, a jewish American girl who volunteered to enter Nazi Germany as a spy. She tells her story in flashback, an old woman relating her adventures to a BBC documentary crew.

Griffith is improbable as the shrewd, resourceful, bilingual Linda. Her 'all-American girl' style of delivery is grating and inappropriate. Michael Douglas, as Ed Leland, makes a passable spy hero, but his character's unwillingness to learn the German language doesn't make any kind of sense, given that he spends most of his working life strutting around Berlin in a Nazi uniform. Sir John Gielgud plays 'Sunflower', 'our' agent in Berlin. Gielgud goes through the motions, as Gielgud usually does, without acting at all. Otto Dietrich, the high-ranking Nazi, is played fairly convincingly and with dignity by Liam Neeson. Joely Richardson is reasonable, even if her character (Margrete von Everstein) is a welter of ill-thought-out nonsense.

David Seltzer wrote and directed this rather lame thriller, and packed it with historical inaccuracies and implausible plot points. The teenage Linda is asked in the course of her job interview to stand and give a twirl, so that the men can get a look at her. She refuses on feminist grounds. This is simply unbelievable, and shows a complete lack of sympathy for the mores and attitudes of a historical period which doesn't happen to be the present day.

Cliche bogs this movie down and robs it of any sense of freshness or vitality that it might have had. For no very good reason, we get a sombre 'Pearl Harbor' moment, even though America's entry into the war is irrelevant to the plot. Espionage in Germany means that the German and spy-movie stereotypes have to be trotted out, so apfel strudel, schnapps and the microfilming of secret documents all find their way into the story. Nazi border guards just have to have slavering alsatian dogs.

Part of the film's problem is a clumsy script which contains some horribly clunking lines. Such mouthfuls as, "What 's a war for, if not to hold onto what we love?" grate on the ear. The German security forces are referred to in heavy-handed purple prose as "Hitler's dreaded stormtroopers".

Continuing the run of blatant improbabilities, Sunflower and Linda board a German train and immediately start discussing Drescher in English - two mind-boggling lapses in security. And would Sunflower use the polite 'ihre' form when addressing a working-class girl?

In order to give the plot some dramatic contours, events are introduced which could never have happened in real life. The film sacrifices credibility for the sake of a cheap shot.

The finale at the border crossing is too silly to merit criticism.

27 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Griffith's character a bit like Palin - underrated, mocked-- acheapmom
The book was far far better than the movie... bittermilk
One of my favorites karen-bruines
What was the song when... Ed Leland seeinf Linda.. curitibanametida
Melanie Griffith's German lbleichenbacher
The opera lishol7-1
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