8 January 2007 | bkoganbing
Getting Even For Cromwell
I See a Dark Stranger finds Deborah Kerr as Irish colleen Bridie Quilty trying to get even with the English for all manner of deprivations visited on her people. Unfortunately she's born during World War II and her own government is scrupulously maintaining its neutrality because they recognize a Nazi victory wouldn't be good for them either.
Deb's been brought up on tales of the Rebellion of 1916 by her family and her first attempt to join the Irish Republican Army by that time an illegal group meets with a rebuff. She looks up an old IRA fighter whose name Dad's dropped for years and finds he's now a museum curator and a believer in the constitutional and diplomatic solutions for remaining problems with the British. Brefni O'Rourke plays Michael Callaghan the old Irish freedom fighter who tries to disillusion Deborah with no success.
She doesn't give up so easily and before long she's really in over her head involved with Nazi spies headed by Raymond Huntley. But she also has a British officer, Trevor Howard, who does convince her in the end that not all the British are Oliver Cromwell while falling for her at the same time.
I See A Dark Stranger was well received in its day, but I think it has a problem of varying degree of mood that isn't explained. The film can't seem to make up its mind as to just how light hearted the story should be. It should have come down on one side or the other.
Still Deborah makes a spirited Bridie and this film together with Black Narcissus are the ones responsible for her going to Hollywood and a long term and honored career which sad to say was not rewarded with an Oscar except a life time achievement one. Trevor Howard is a stalwart leading man and Tom McCauley and Garry Marsh play a couple of Colonel Blimps in training on the Isle of Man who nearly steal the film.