EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DARK JOURNEY (director: Victor Saville; screenwriters: from the play by Lajos Biró/Lajos Biró/Arthur Wimperis; cinematographers: Georges Périnal/Harry Stradling, Sr.; editor: Hugh Stewart; music: Richard Addinsell; cast: Conrad Veidt (Baron Karl Von Marwitz), Vivien Leigh (Madeleine Goddard), Joan Gardner (Lupita), Anthony Bushell (Bob Carter), Phil Ray (Faber), Ursula Jeans (Gertrude), Margery Pickard (Colette), Eliot Makeham (Anatole Bergen), Austin Trevor (Dr. Muller); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating:NR; producers: Victor Saville/Alexander Korda; United Artists; 1938-UK)|
|"Rescued from the doldrums by the polished
performances of Vivien Leigh
and Conrad Veidt."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Victor Saville ("Kim"/"The Silver Chalice"/"Calling
Bulldog Drummond") directs
this unconvincing and muddled WW I romantic spy drama, that's
nevertheless quite entertaining. The story line is so confusing it is
hard to say where its sympathies lie. Is it anti-war? Pro-German?
Pro-French? Pro-British? In any case, it goes out of the way to show
the Germans as regular people and not monsters, just serving their
country like the French and English. The director brings his usual
blandness and filmmaking competency to this sophisticated talkative spy
story among high society types, that's rescued from the doldrums by the
polished performances of Vivien
Leigh and Conrad Veidt. This
was Leigh's first leading role after a small part in Fire Over England
(1937), and she's luminous. GWTW and her Oscar-winning part as Scarlett
O'Hara is two years away. It's based on the play by Lajos Biró, and is written by Biró and Arthur
It's set in the spring of
1918, in Stockholm. Swiss-born upscale
dress-shop owner for the last
three years, Madeleine
Goddard (Vivien Leigh), has
been traveling back and forth between Paris and Stockholm to buy
dresses and spy for the Germans. But she feeds the German spy ring in
Stockholm misleading info, as she's really French born and a French
agent. The weary Madeleine is asked to perform one more mission before
returning for good to France, as she's asked to find out who is the new
German secret service section 8 leader stationed in Stockholm after the
Germans shake up things when they realize they're getting bogus intel.
It turns out to be the ice cold womanizer Baron Karl
Von Marwitz (Conrad Veidt, one of his few leading roles), who Madeleine dates and she falls in love with him
(something not possible to believe, but their dates are at least funny
Their spy romance ends with a
dark journey by boat to safety by Madeleine, when to save her life from the German
secret service after she's unmasked as a double agent the one-armed
British agent Bob Carter (Anthony Bushell) gets her deported as a French spy and
springs a trap to nab the Baron.
REVIEWED ON 9/30/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ