COAT, THE (director: John
Sturges; screenwriter: Karl Tunberg; cinematographer: Paul C. Vogel;
editor: Ben Lewis; music: Conrad Salinger; cast: Cornel Wilde (Maj. John
Bolton), Michael Wilding (Maj. John Andre), George
Sanders (Dr. Jonathan Odell), Anne Francis (Sally
Cameron), Robert Douglas (Benedict Arnold), Bobby
Driscoll (Ben Potter), John McIntire (General Robert Howe), James
(Col. Jameson); Runtime: 101;
MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nicholas Nayfack;
"The storyline is highly suspect."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
John Sturges ("Mystery Street"/"Jeopardy"/"Never So
Few") and writer Karl Tunberg set their inert American
war of independence spy drama in 1780. Though visually
pleasing in lush Technicolor, the storyline is highly
suspect and the acting is more suited for the stage
than cinema. The talky and non-action MGM costumer tells in a stiff fashion about the American Secret
Service's start as counterspies to catch the British
American intelligence officer, Maj.
John Bolton (Cornel
Wilde), goes undercover at the urging of
General Howe (John McIntire) to catch a British spy
ring and its leader "Gustavus." Later it's learned the traitor Gustavus is General Benedict Arnold
Douglas), the commander of West Point, who was willing
to sellout to the British the military school.
George Sanders plays the
villainous English doctor who suspects Bolton is a
Colonial spy trying to pass himself off as a British
Wilding is the idealistic but tragic patriotic
English major John Andre, who is connected with the
Arnold spy mission and is a friend of Bolton. Both
officers love Sally Cameron (Anne Francis), who is engaged to Andre.
The ethical Andre gets fooled by Bolton's spy activities and
fails to uncover that Sally's father might be a Tory
but that she's an American sympathizer and is in love
with Bolton. In the end, through an inventive script Andre, though a cohort of
Benedict Arnold, is looked upon as a hero. We're led to believe
that Andre and Bolton though rivals in love and war
still became best friends, and Andre became revered
despite being hanged by the Americans as a British spy
revealing Bolton was a spy. The film asks a lot of
the viewer to believe that seems to be fictionalized
by the writer.
REVIEWED ON 7/18/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ