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 Eberstien
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?


Liam Neeson works with his future sister-in-law, Joely Richardson. See more »


When Margrete ushers Linda into her home, her mother is playing Chopin's "Andante Spianato" and "Grand Polonnaise" on the piano. She is a Nazi sympathizer, so she probably wouldn't play music by a Polish and French composer. See more »


Franze-Otto Dietrich: [from car to Linda Voss who is walking alone and has just been fired by Horst Drescher] It's me, ze zoup.
[points to his chest where Linda Voss had spilled soup on him earlier during the dinner]
Franze-Otto Dietrich: He dismissed you?
Linda Voss: Yes
Franze-Otto Dietrich: Ze doves were raw.
Linda Voss: I had no time, I arrived at 6:00.
Franze-Otto Dietrich: [talking to Linda Voss about Horst Drescher and the dinner of raw dove] He ate ze whole thing to pwove it was edible.
Franze-Otto Dietrich: You should have seen him. Pompous little ass. Eating a raw bird.
[shakes his head]
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Worst Films of 1992 (1993) See more »


Moonlight Serenade
Written by Glenn Miller
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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 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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