DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

HOTEL RESERVE (directors: Victor Hanbury/Lance Comfort/Max Greene; screenwriters: based on the Eric Ambler novel "Epitaph for a Spy"/John Davenport; cinematographer: Max Greene; editor: Sid Stone; music:  Lennox Berkeley; cast: James Mason (Peter Vadassy), Lucie Mannheim (Mme Suzanne Koch), Raymond Lovell  (Robert Duclos), Herbert Lom (Andre Roux), Martin Miller (Walter Vogel),  Julien Mitchell (Michel Beghin), Clare Hamilton (Mary Skelton), Frederick Valk (Schimler/Heinberger), Valentine Dyall (); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Victor HanburyLance Comfort/Max Greene; TCM (RKO); 1944-UK)

"The pic serves as a morale booster for the English public during wartime."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An obscure mystery thriller, with Brits acting as French and Germans, that's poorly directed by threesome of Victor Hanbury ("Escape to Danger"), Lance Comfort (Tomorrow at Ten") and Max Greene ("The Man From Morocco"). It's based on the excellent 1938 Eric Ambler novel "Epitaph for a Spy." John Davenport delivers the screenplay. Its mostly interesting to see the young James Mason in action, who gives a marvelous performance.

Peter Vadassy (James Mason) is an Austrian medical student on holiday in the south of France, who seeks refugee status by renouncing his Austrian citizenship. The police accuse him of being a spy because he's caught taking pictures of a top secret military facility, outside of Toulon,  just before the onset of WW II. To prove his innocence, Peter agrees to work with Michel Beghin ( Julien Mitchell) of French Naval Intelligence to track down the real spy among his fellow guests.

The pic serves as a morale booster for the English public during wartime. It's also a visually attractive film, though hampered because it's so slow moving.

REVIEWED ON 10/26/2014       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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