18 November 2008 | boblipton
The Boys Play With Their Toys
Dorothy Arzner's last directorial effort is replete with her usual feminist slant on things as Merle Oberon -- playing a Norwegian -- is caught between romantic Nazi officer Carl Esmond, who wants to marry her and British spy Brian Aherne who loves her, which is all a great inconvenience to her winning the war for Norway. The men are busy playing with their big tanks and their large meetings -- the state marriage of Esmond and Oberon with its TRIUMPH OF THE WILL sized set decorations is very funny. The occasional battlefield shots looks to me like they are modeled on those sets of plastic soldiers that used to be advertised on the back of comic books.
Oberon, appropriately enough, seems to spend much of her time trying to keep a straight face as Esmond tries to romance her into marriage. It fits neatly into the sort of movie that Arzner used to direct Ruth Chatterton in in the early 1930s, but here, deprived of her favorite screenwriter, Zoe Akins, and forced into the confines of wartime propaganda, she still manages to get in the occasional sly dig.