24 January 2006 | lora64
Suspicion, intrigue and a touch of romance in film prior to WW2 years
What a pleasant surprise to accidentally tune in to this movie on late night television, a film totally unknown to me.
Ilona Massey is the sophisticated spy, Carla Nillson, in this suspenseful drama who succeeds in subtle deceptions throughout by camouflaging her real identity behind her singing engagements and exquisite good looks, a beauty that ordinarily puts her beyond suspicion. But it doesn't last. George Brent (as Tim Hanley) and Basil Rathbone (as Reggie Oliver) are federal agents who become alerted to her actions and pursue the trail of her activities.
She displays a beautiful singing voice in a few instances. It's quite ingenious of her as a spy to pass on messages of important information through her singing in a foreign language for radio broadcast during an evening soirée. Her sheet music subsequently comes under considerable scrutiny, something about sabotage, etc. and is painstakingly dissected to break the code. And so the story unfolds. Eventually she is suspected of serious incriminating activity and must face the consequences.
Ah, to be blonde and beautiful! I remember as a youngster seeing her in a comedy film where she was walking on an elevated fence wall with the wind blowing her evening gown seductively. I always thought of her as surrounded in mystery, such are the memories of a young mind.
George Brent as always plays the suave romantic lead, attentive and caring. And leave it to Basil Rathbone to get caught up in the intrigue firsthand! It's nice to see a youngish Gene Lockhart, here as Sidney Grenner, involved in the plotting and scheming.
The story does hold one's attention to the end, wondering how it will be resolved. All in all, a very good early movie prior to the onset of the war films that followed. Well worth watching.
I can only wonder why they don't have this available on video. It would be great to have it in one's collection.