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Suicide Squadron (1941)

Dangerous Moonlight (original title)
Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 20 April 1942 (USA)
During World War II, an American newswoman falls for a Polish piano virtuoso...who wants to go back and fight.

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Stefan 'Steve' Radetzky
... Carol Peters Radetzky
... Mike Carroll
... Specialist
Percy Parsons ... Bill Peters
Kenneth Kent ... Andre De Guise (as Keneth Kent)
... Residing Physician
... Shorty
... British Commander
Frederick Valk ... Polish Bomber Commander
O.B. Clarence ... Waiter with Tray of Wine
James Pirrie ... (as James Perrie)
Marian Spencer ... Miss Gratton (as Marion Spencer)
Leslie Gordon
... Pete
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Storyline

Prologue: in 1940, a shellshocked man fights to recall his past. Flashback: During the Nazi invasion of Poland, American reporter Carole Peters meets Polish airman Stefan Radetzky, also a piano virtuoso. Stefan is among the last to escape Warsaw; months later, in New York, he and Carole meet again, and marry. But the thought of his going back to fight is not only personally terrifying to Carole, but seems a great waste of his musical talent... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Suicide Squadron  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anton Walbrook had aspirations as a classical pianist in real life so his hands are shown playing the piano. However, the piano part as heard was recorded by an uncredited Louis Kentner. See more »

Goofs

In a cockpit close-up, during the final air battle, the "Poland" flash on Stefan's uniform is back-to-front, as in a mirror image. This indicates that the original left-to-right shot was "flipped" so that it coincided with the other right-to-left shots that are used in the complete battle sequence. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON NOVEMBER 1940 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Terence Young: Bond Vivant (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Polonaise in A major Op. 40 No. 1
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on an xylophone on radio to indicate Poland is still inconquered
Played as background music as airplanes leave Warsaw
Played on piano by Anton Walbrook (dubbed by Louis Kentner)
Reprised on piano by Anton Walbrook (dubbed by Louis Kentner) as the encore at his New York concert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Music and passion at war
13 January 2018 | by See all my reviews

What is wrong about this film? The story couldn't be better, and it is underscored by one of the best film scores ever made. Still, the film is far from a successful film.

Whose fault is it? The director Brian Desmond Hurst made many films on the best of stories, but none of them really come alive, as if he was rather formally transferring a piece of literature to pictures without the capacity to make the actors transcend the story, as if their main task was not to act but only to sustain the story.

Anton Walbrook makes the best of it, and he is reliable as in every film he ever made, but possibly sensitive to the director's limitations, he stays within himself throughout the film.

Sally Grey just isn't enough. She is not well chosen for this role of a cool journalist of a millionaire's only daughter, rather spoiled and childish, and she is not psychologically convincing, just not living up to the profound and passionate romance that is presented in the first scenes in the ruins of Warsaw. After this film, she would make no other until five years later, but then she would be so much better in "Carnival".

The main acting asset of the film is instead Derrick de Marney as Walbrook's colleague and best friend, who actually saves the film, although he is the only truly tragic figure.

And how come that this outstanding music, by many deemed as the best film music ever made, doesn't succeed in saving the film? The guilty one here is actually Anton Walbrook - he is as far from convincing as a pianist as an actor could get. It's over-obvious that every single sequence with him playing the piano, and they are many, is faked. He is never seen to touch the keys, he is completely dispassionate sitting by the piano although the music couldn't be more passionate, and this is the main want of the film - the music is there, but it would have been better if we never had to see the pianist at work. It is recommended to close your eyes every time you see Anton Walbrook by the piano and listen to the real pianist instead of watching a painful fake.

The story also saves the film. It is much deeper and more complicated than what it first appears like, and you need to see the film a couple of times before you understand it. The first time must be a disappointment. The second time you will understand everything you didn't understand the first time, and then you know how to deal with this - in spite of all - super-unique gem of a romantic war crisis film of patriotic passion and responsibility at stake on the altar of love.


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