|MARGIN FOR ERROR (director: Otto Preminger; screenwriters: Sam Fuller/Lillie Hayworth/based on the play by Claire Booth Luce; cinematographer: Edward Cronjager; editor: Louis Loeffler; music: Leigh Harline; cast: Joan Bennett (Sophie Baumer), Milton Berle (Moe Finkelstein), Otto Preminger (Karl Baumer), Howard Freeman (Otto Horst), Carl Esmond (Baron Max Von Alvenstor), Clyde Fillmore (Dr. Jennings), Ralph Byrd (Pete, the Dice-Playing Soldier), Byron Foulger (Drug Store Clerk), Poldy Dur (Frida); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ralph Dietrich; 20th Century Fox; 1943)|
|"Gets a poor treatment on screen."
by Dennis Schwartz
disappointing black comedy directed by Otto
Cardinal"). It's based on the popular
Broadway play by Claire Booth Luce, that gets a
poor treatment on screen. It's written by Lillie
Hayworth and Sam Fuller.
parody is set just prior
to WW II. Karl
Baumer (Otto Preminger), the
sadistic monocled German consul, is
stationed in New York. The consul's wife Sophie
Baumer (Joan Bennett) is locked into a
loveless marriage, but stays married to the Nazi
tyrant only to safeguard her father
in Czechoslovakia and relatives in
Germany. The consul's assistant, Baron
Max Von Alvenstor (Carl
Esmond), takes the fall for his boss's
misuse of funds. Soon the consul turns up dead (he's
poisoned, stabbed and shot). The Jewish
policeman (Milton Berle) investigating the
mysterious death calls it a suicide.
tells the story in flashback, from the POV of Berle,
who is on a boat going overseas to fight at the
onset of the war. Everything about the film is stagy
and not suited for film. What makes things worse is
direction. There are a few mild
laughs, in a comedy that should have been funnier.
REVIEWED ON 12/29/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ