18 March 2016 | bkoganbing
"We all have our jobs to do"
Two of Hollywood's British colony are the leads in this Columbia Pictures war film about the Norwegian Resistance. Brian Aherne and Merle Oberon, a British barrister and a Norwegian woman who have some before the war history come together when British commandos raid Norway.
Oberon has a dangerous assignment, she plays the mistress of a German Major Carl Esmond and as such is despised by her fellow Norwegians. But in fact she's a spy for the Allies. Still it's not easy to hang around knowing that you're vilified behind your back.
Wouldn't you know it Aherne is landed by submarine and is to make contact with Oberon. He also knows the local Norwegian terrain. Can they get their mission done and keep their minds on the mission is the theme of First Comes Courage.
Carl Esmond does a good job as the major who is a typical cruel Nazi, but whom you also feel a bit sorry for as Oberon is making a fool of him. As such he has a bit more dimension to him than Conrad Veidt as Major Stroesser in Casablanca.
After a lot of hot and heavy action when the commandos do raid, the ending is a Casablanca like one and I'll not say more.
First Comes Courage is distinguished by the good performances of its leads, Oberon, Aherne, and Esmond and the first rate action sequences. Kudos also to Isobel Elsom as a Norwegian nurse who sacrifices much herself. The film hardly has the staying power of Casablanca, the difference between the major leagues and Double A baseball.