British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Stephen Neale is released into WWII England after two years in an asylum, but it doesn't seem so sane outside either. On his way back to London to rejoin civilization, he stumbles across a murderous spy ring and doesn't quite know who to turn to.Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
Forrester works for the Ministry of Home Security, a genuine British governmental department established in 1939 to defend the UK's civilian population against enemy action. See more »
The way that cake box was flung around and handled, the cake would have been crumbled and in clumps when he got it out to serve to the blind man on the train. At least, most of the frosting would have been stuck to the inside of the box. See more »
Man released from mental hospital gets innocently involved with Nazis because of a cake.
There are more than enough compensations in this flawed thriller to keep viewers' eyes glued to the screen. But what I'd really like to see is the movie Lang wanted to make instead of this one, the version producer-writer Miller and the Production Code insisted upon (IMDB). Not that this version is unworthy, but it's not hard to see Lang's sensibility competing against Miller's turgid screenplay. Unfortunately, the scenes follow in no particular order, while the several genuinely good plot ideas (the many clever snares) lose impact because of murky development. Too bad there wasn't a streamlining re-write. Couple that revision with Lang's visual talents and a first-rate thriller of Hitchcockian proportions would have resulted.
At least producer Miller popped for some impressive sets to accommodate Lang's expressionist vision-- the very last scene may be the only sunshine shot in the entire 90- minutes,(the requisite happy ending). The narrative may be muddled, but several scenes are memorable—the sinister blind man, the frantic search for the cake, the final unmasking. Each shows an expert blend of form with content.
Unfortunately, the movie is also harmed by spotty casting. Milland is okay, but he is a better actor than he shows here, which is perhaps Lang's fault. A serious flaw, however, is Reynolds (Carla) who shows way too much American malt shop to pass as a European, even as the sister of the very European Esmond (Willi). Then too, I'm as big a fan of Duryea as anyone. But one thing he's not by any stretch is a British tailor. For that reason, it's probably just as well his part is surprisingly small. On the other hand, there's the stately Hillary Brooke (Bellane), always an impressive blend of brains and beauty, along with a very smooth and affable Carl Esmond, both of whom deliver in spades.
I wanted to like the movie more than I do. But, it's really a movie of parts rather than a satisfactory whole. With better casting and cogent narrative, the results could have been truly exceptional, instead of the flawed thriller it unfortunately is.
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