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A Lady Without Passport (1950)

There is a problem with foreign nationals using Cuba as a convenient jumping off point for illegal entry into the United States. So U.S. Immigration Service Agent Peter Karczag (John Hodiak... See full summary »

Director:

Joseph H. Lewis

Writers:

Howard Dimsdale, Cyril Hume (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hedy Lamarr ... Marianne Lorress
John Hodiak ... Peter Karczag INS aka Josef Gombush
James Craig ... Chief Frank Westlake, INS
George Macready ... Palinov, Gulf Stream Cafe Havana
Steven Geray ... Frenchman, Palinov's Tout
Bruce Cowling ... Archer Delby James, Pilot
Nedrick Young ... Harry Nordell
Steven Hill ... Jack
Robert Osterloh ... Lt. Lannahan, NYC Cop
Trevor Bardette ... Lt. Carfagno, Cuban Cop
Charles Wagenheim Charles Wagenheim ... Ramon Santez
Renzo Cesana Renzo Cesana ... Asa Sestina, Deported Mobster
Esther Zeitlin Esther Zeitlin ... Beryl Sandring
Carlo Tricoli Carlo Tricoli ... Mr. Sandring
Marta Mitrovich Marta Mitrovich ... Elizabeth Alonescu
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Storyline

There is a problem with foreign nationals using Cuba as a convenient jumping off point for illegal entry into the United States. So U.S. Immigration Service Agent Peter Karczag (John Hodiak) is sent to Havana posing as a Hungarian frustrated with the legal immigration process and open to an alternative. By this means he uncovers the human smuggling ring run by Palinov (George Macready). He also meets concentration-camp refugee Marianne Lorress (Hedy Lamarr), a Viennese working in a nightclub and one who has paid to be smuggled into the United States. When Karczag falls in love with her, he becomes conflicted, not wanting her to be among those he plans to have captured in his operation. So he tries to persuade her to stay in Cuba instead of being secretly flown to the United States. Will he succeed? What if his cover is blown? Written by Fred Edwords <FEdwords@Gmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M THRILLS! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

3 August 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Mulher Sem Nome See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,088,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the film is seen the S.S. Joseph R. Parrot, a railroad car ferry that ran between Havana and Palm Beach, Florida, and was owned by the West India Fruit and Steamship Company. Built in 1916, she was requisitioned by the U.S. Navy in 1942 and renamed the U.S.S. Salem (CM-11), serving as a mine-layer and submarine net layer. She served in the Mediterannean and Pacific theaters earning two battle stars. She returned to commercial service in 1947 and ran the ferry car route until it was discontinued c.1960 due to the Cuban revolution. Sold to a Honduran firm for use as a cargo ship, she was scrapped in 1970. See more »

Goofs

The slow, tight circling of the plane crash site from the naval pilot's point of view would be impossible in his light aircraft. It was obviously filmed from a helicopter. See more »

Quotes

Marianne Lorress: Havana does look lovely.
Peter Karczag INS aka Josef Gombush: It's a way station. The last one. Then the United States.
Marianne Lorress: Is it everything people dream about?
Peter Karczag INS aka Josef Gombush: I don't know. It is what many have dreamed. Others whose dreams have edges too round, colors too bright, they are disappointed.
Marianne Lorress: Oh, I'm not looking for streets paved with gold. A home, respect, freedom. And neighbors who want the same thing.
Peter Karczag INS aka Josef Gombush: Marianne, don't hope for too much.
Marianne Lorress: I'm just beginning to hope.
Peter Karczag INS aka Josef Gombush: Even if things go as you expect, I've been to the United States... a ...
See more »

Soundtracks

I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played by a Havana street orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Polished exotic thriller has A feature look.
12 April 2003 | by MozjoukineSee all my reviews

Before they went wide screen MGM, had a brief period of taking on likely action movie directors and pouring more money into their work than they or the audience were used to. Anthony Mann benefited with BORDER INCIDENT. John Sturges got THE PEOPLE AGAINST O'HARA and Joe Lewis scored this sweaty thriller, where the character people who enlivened his Columbia work can be seen milling round behind Metro's contract leads.

The director was demoted to B movies after this, rather unjustly, as it's not only probably his most ambitious outing but also a very efficient entertainment. Lewis' handling breaks through the Metro gloss occasionally - the facing profiles of the death struggle, McCready firing into the fog after Hodiak has tricked him.

The immigrant smuggling story adds surprising elements like the professionalism of the bad guys. "If he is killed he will be replaced - probably by a smarter man."

One of the best aspects is the film's picture of Cuba, with Hodiak squiring Hedy's double round the real city along with studio construction which runs to a functional tramway, art director interiors and back projection. The seedy, fading opulent hotel the leads share is particularly evocative.

While the process work occasionally shows, the model plane crash is a considerable set piece.

The glamour shots of Hedy reveal the studio input, not altogether to the film's advantage. She acts well enough and looks mature-appealing with the hints of having been around enough to accept McCready's protection.

Surprisingly sympathetic treatment of aliens "A little thing like an accent, a foreign name will set you apart" relates to the Dore Schary era multi culturalism of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK or BORDER INCIDENT again.


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