11 August 2015 | GManfred
Maltin Flops Again
Leonard Maltin reviews this picture in his Classic Movie Guide. He missed it altogether but, hey, nobody's perfect. By his description it is a "dated espionage film"...and he's right - it is. It was released in 1942, which makes it 73 years old, but his 3-line synopsis doesn't do it justice.
There are several similarities to "Casablanca" that nobody has mentioned yet. The main character (Preston Foster) is an American expatriate who owns a bar, although this time in Shanghai. Customers of all stripes come and go; some are suspicious, some not. Of course, there are shady goings-on, or else what's the point of making the movie. A voluptuous woman (Lynn Bari) slinks in one night and asks suspicious questions. Her presence triggers some of the local baddies into action. He is attracted to her and his curiosity is aroused. There follows non-stop action as the Japanese close in on the both of them. It is tense and gripping and the 72 minutes flies by, and at break-neck speed.
Can't tell you how rewarding it is to watch an unknown movie and get a big payoff. There wasn't a bad acting job in the lot, and the taut direction was by actor-director Irving Pichel, who directed many unknown gems like this one. If you like well-done spy pictures, this one is for you. Try and see it if you can.