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When a German U-Boat captain is sent on a spying mission to the North of Scotland during World War One, he finds more than he bargained for in his contact, the local schoolmistress.Written by
Ian Harries <email@example.com>
A deceptively and beautifully simple little film, a great start for the Powell and Pressburger collaboration, and good British propaganda fun too. Much too simple for most people today who would miss colour, violence, depravity, unfathomable plot and shaky camera work in their spy films.
Austere devilishly handsome German U Boat captain Conrad Veidt has convoluted spying mission in 1917 Scotland to locate the British fleet but finds himself being sidetracked with schoolmistress contact Valerie Hobson and the availability of butter. But even though WW1 is portrayed as more "civilised" than the coming war as in Colonel Blimp, oil and water must always remain just so. There's a fine cast of British stalwarts for example the seemingly legless Hay Petrie, some eccentric most with secrets, and high production values generally disguising occasionally flimsy sets and occasional implausibility. Rosza's music was high class too, nicely complementing the nitrate black and white film stock, which unfortunately has been allowed to deteriorate over the years but sometimes unintentionally lets you believe it really is 1917 and not 1939. As with Colonel Blimp 4 years later the German viewpoint with a sympathetic lead is told with a seeming impartiality, but after all there wasn't any doubt about the outcome. Even Chamberlain might've been hard to appease if Veidt's plans had been shown to bear fruit!
Throwaway - so why can't I throw it away? Entertaining, engrossing, amusing, nothing very heavy and even on the verge of war not a big flag-waver, so it's just the type of film I enjoy.
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