Margin for Error (1943)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War

Margin for Error (1943) Poster

It is a toss-up as to who is most displeased when Patrolman Moe Finkelstein is given the duty of guarding the German consulate run by Karl Baumer; neither Moe nor Baumer is too happy with ... See full summary »


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9 April 2020 | boblipton
| Hasn't Aged Well
Policeman Milton Berle is assigned to guarding the German consulate in New York, despite his protests. He woos the German maid, Liesl Handl, gets along well with aristocratic consulate secretary Carl Esmond, thinks the consulate's wife, Joan Bennett, is quite a looker (so do I). That leaves the consul, played by director Otto Preminger as if he is Eric von Stroheim, He is a stinker. Meanwhile, various plots are playing out within the walls.

On paper, this looks like it should have been a pretty good movie. It's based on a Claire Booth Luce play, and the screenplay is by Lillie Hayward and Samuel Fuller. Yet the propaganda content overwhelms everything so much that the jokes have aged very poorly. The result is a desultory effort.

I venture to suggest that Preminger had no talent for directing comedy. He finished up a couple of films for Lubitsch in a manner tha lacked sparkle, and spent the rest of his career doing important and often fascinating dramas, I venture to say that it's just as well.

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