Madeline Goddard is a smart young woman who owns a fashionable dress shop in neutral Sweden during World War One. Though she is grateful to avoid the fighting, the courageous and stunningly pretty Madeline feels she should be doing more for her native France. She volunteers to work as an intelligence agent, smuggling maps and other documents within the fashionable garments she ships to wealthy customers in London. Madeline's activities are so successful that British intelligence soon comes to rely on her as their main pipeline for information. At about this time, a British official in Sweden asks her to cultivate the friendship of Baron Karl Von Marwitz, a tall, distinguished-looking German officer who is in charge of counter-espionage activities at the German embassy. Unknown to Madeline, the baron has been sent to Sweden for the express purpose of discovering and eliminating the top British spy who has been smuggling out German war plans. When Madeline and Karl meet, each recognizes...Written by
This was Sam Livesey's final film before his death on November 7, 1936 at the age of 63. See more »
The story takes place in 1918, but all of Vivien Leigh's fashions and hairstyles, as well as those of the other women in the cast, are strictly up-to-the minute 1937 modes. See more »
Baron Karl Von Marwitz:
So our pretty little dressmaker is a spy! What will people say, an officer of the Kaiser like me and a woman like you, Madeline?
They'll say, the poor girl couldn't help herself.
Baron Karl Von Marwitz:
One false move could mean death for both of us. But death is nothing to what I feel for you.
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One of the first reviews I ever did for IMDb was of The Firefly, the 1937 MGM musical that starred Allan Jones and Jeanette MacDonald. The original book of the Broadway operetta was scrapped for a plot involving espionage agents working for the exiled King of Spain and for Napoleon and they were played by MacDonald and Jones respectively.
It seems as though I may have discovered where the story came from as Dark Journey is in fact based on a couple of real life French and German agents operating during World War I. Both are stationed in neutral Stockholm and serve as conduits for intelligence for their respective governments.
Like in The Firefly both fall for each other and in the end the female uses all her feminine charms to trap the male as the British use a Trojan horse gambit as well as Vivien Leigh's considerable charms to nail Conrad Veidt. What do they do, you have to watch Dark Journey for that, but I have to say it is rather clever.
Dark Journey and Fire Over England with her then husband Laurence Olivier are the films that got Vivien Leigh her first real critical notice. Ultimately in her career which in point of fact has very few films to her credit, it led to double Academy Awards for Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. Her beauty is stunning in Dark Journey and no hint of the physical and mental problems that plagued her tragically all her adult life.
Conrad Veidt who escaped Nazi Germany was also making quite a mark in the British cinema. His career role there would be Jaffa in The Thief of Bagdad and later on of course as Major Stroesser in Casablanca in the USA. He made a good living playing a lot of Nazis during World War II although he was as rabidly anti-Nazi as they come. He left Germany because he had a Jewish wife. He died way too young and never saw the ultimate triumph against Hitler.
If any of you have seen The Firefly you know exactly what happens to both Leigh and Veidt. You could do a lot worse than seeing both of them back to back.
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