1940, Linda Voss is a woman of Irish, Jewish-German parentage who loves the movies, especially films about war and spies. She gets a job at a New York law firm, after it's revealed she can speak German, fluently. As secretary and translator to Ed Leland, she begins to suspect that her boss is involved in espionage work. The two become lovers, and when America officially joins the Allies in fighting Hitler, Linda volunteers to go undercover behind enemy lines.Written by
In the living-room, when Linda and her father read a letter from her imperiled aunts and cousin in Berlin, the music on the phonograph is Robert Schumann's "Kinderszenen" (Scenes of Childhood), Opus 15. See more »
Just before Leland enters the Customs Hut, his cap displays all of the correct insignia. When he enters, the eagle has disappeared. See more »
What I was going to ask you to do is stand up, turn around, and close your eyes and tell me everything you see in the room. It's an observation test. Do you really have a problem with that?
Pictures of sailboats and polo ponies; fancy books and diplomas; stuffed fish on the wall; calendar set to the wrong date; bookcases that need dusting; carpets that need cleaning; and a couple of guys from Harvard who are surprised that a girl who needs a job won't be treated like a slave.
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Though I never read the book, personally I feel that this is an overly criticized and highly under rated movie. It's been awhile since I saw it so forget all the plot intricacies, but do recall enjoying this wartime romance at the time. As others have noted, it is definitely more a love story than a spy thriller. Also, I was sufficiently impressed with the performances by all three leads but especially Liam Leeson.
The plot revolves around an American spy master, Ed Leland, who reluctantly sends his secretary, Linda Voss, on a dangerous mission to Berlin, refusing to admit to himself that he has feelings for her personally. Voss is sent to spy on a high level German army officer named Dietrich, being deemed suitable for the task because she speaks fluent German. This secretary is half Jewish herself, and part of her motivation is actually to find some of her relatives who are in hiding. She thus goes undercover into Nazi Germany as a secretary turned spy, with little training in survival or espionage. However, she is a great fan of old spy movies and has gleaned a few tips! Perhaps the plot is not that plausible, but the same charge could be laid against any number of other movies. This is mainly a romance and a highly entertaining one.
Melanie Griffith is charming here in the role of Linda Voss. She is not a dumb blonde bimbo, nor does she even appear to be. Quite the contrary. Some have complained about her German, but I was interested in the story, and no expert on her accent. Michael Douglas competently portrays the American spy, Leland. Whether or not it is believable that someone in his position cannot speak a word of German, he has a very credible chemistry with Griffith. Liam Neeson is especially excellent, playing with dignity and charisma the complex role of the sensitive but potentially ruthless Nazi officer and devoted family man. Sir John Gielgud, the ultimate professional, is masterful as always and commands any scene in which he appears.
I confess that I'm a sucker for wartime romances, love the drama of that era as well as the 1940's styles, so would lap up just about any representative of the genre. While this one may not be a classic, it is a good love story with some gripping action, tension, and suspense. As another also noted, though it may indeed be highly improbable, it is nevertheless highly watchable.
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