Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1940. Twentieth Century-Fox Productions. Story by Gordon Wellesley, Screenplay by Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder. Cinematography by Otto Kanturek. Produced by Edward Black. Music by Louis Levy, Charles Williams. Production Design by Alex Vetchinsky. Costume Design by Eugene Joseff. Film Editing by R.E. Dearing. Academy Awards 1941.
A famous Czechoslovakian scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood) manage to escape the Nazis and slip away to England, but it is not long before they are captured and dragged back to continental Europe. Anxious to save them, British secret agent Rex Harrison decides to go for broke and impersonate a German officer in order to get them back, partly to save the man whose armor plating invention is crucial to the war effort, but it doesn’t hurt that Harrison is sweet on the gal too. Stylish and dramatic, this bit of propaganda fluff doesn’t have enough tension or excitement to rank up there with the best of the wartime dramas, but it is an intelligent thriller that is never compromised by its own indulgences in comedy (particularly in the reuniting of two comic characters from The Lady Vanishes, also written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder). Paul Henreid appears in a career-making role as a sympathetic enemy, and the climax high above the Swiss Alps is a terrific sequence.