A barrister attempts to discourage his daughter's infatuation for a philanderer, by revealing his past. The plan backfires when the daughter's would-be father-in-law threatens to reveal the barrister's shady background.
In 1930, Maria Brentano and her younger sister Nora flee to London after their father is murdered by a European dictator. Seven years later, during a weekend trip to Paris, Maria unexpectedly meets Louis, her former lover who is now plotting the assassination of the dictator. Maria and Nora become involved in the plan, which goes tragically wrong when the time bomb they plant kills an innocent bystander.Written by
The film begins in 1930 with a key character reading a letter. The letter contains a line: "a poet has written, 'We must love one another or die.' This line is from a poem by W.H. Auden entitled "September 1, 1939." See more »
Valentina Cortese, daughter of pacifist anti-fascist, makes the best of exile in England with sister Audrey Hepburn. When the strongman who killed her father comes to England, will she resist the entreaties of her father's political friends to help them, or will she join THE SECRET PEOPLE? This is quite a good film -- but it is much more a character study of a woman who suddenly finds her ideals and her peace of mind threatened because of her position - then it is a straightforward spy vs spy drama. Audrey Hepburn, on the cusp of stardom, is given a role that highlights her talents without taxing her abilities. (She plays young and dangerously innocent beautifully. Her ability to do this is what makes the end of the film work.) But the movie rests on the ability of Valentina Cortese to seem intelligent but scared, vulnerable and terribly conflicted. This is a really good role that gets a really good performance.
Is this a classic for the ages? Not quite -- I like the characterization of one of the commenters as "near masterpiece". There's a deliberate lack of suspense in the film -- the results of one of the key actions in the film is so telegraphed in advance that the sequence surrounding it might be the dullest patch of the film, and the build up to the final climax is oddly lacking. But, if you have a dog- eared copy of Conrad's Secret Agent, you'll recognize the dark but dowdy milieu, and appreciate that Ealing's dedication to the use of location filming is put to good -- if very un-Ealing like -- use here.
Worth the time.
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