Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Conspirators (1944)


“This may seem to you melodramatic, but indulge me, please, I like melodrama.”

            I enjoy watching old films that were made during World War II. This is a time when American patriotism was true and pure and films of this time reflect that patriotism. While this is all good and nice I really like seeing films that deal with the European side of the war. It seems only fair that the studios made films dealing with the struggles of Europeans since many stars of during this time came from the Continent. Casablanca had been a huge hit for Warner Bros. in 1942 and they tried to cash in on the popularity two years later in 1944 with The Conspirators starring Austrian actors Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid.
            Vincent Van Der Lyn (Henreid) was a freedom fighter in Holland. He is now wanted by the Germans for his bombings. Vincent manages to run away to Lisbon where he is to leave for England. At the airport a German officer hears Vincent’s name as well as that he did not cross German border patrols  in Spain and reports him. Vincent manages to get in touch with a contact outside a train station. The contact pretends to be a blind man. The contact sees the German following Vincent and gets on the payphone to warn others.
            Irene Von Mohr (Lamarr)was passing along a message to a man. The man is shot and the police come. Irene runs into the café where Vincent is. To avoid the police she sits down with Vincent. The police cannot find her and leave. Unfortunately Irene notices a German officer. After the unexpected interruption Vincent notices Jan (Peter Lorre) who is another contact.
            Vincent manages to track Irene down to a casino. She makes like she does not know who he is.
            Vincent and Irene spend more time together and they begin to love each other. They both want to go to England together but they cannot since Irene is entangled with another man.
            The casting was perfect. Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid were beautiful and wonderful as a screen couple. I did not mind the film so much but I wish they had been casted in another film together something better than this. Their acting was top notch and fantastic. Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet were supporting characters. I have noticed from their other films that they were so good at acting that they almost steal the films from the main actors in their scenes and they were no exception here. To me Greenstreet and Lorre epitomize Warner Bros. studio in the 1940s.
              I have to mention a dress that Hedy Lamarr wore in a scene. It was a beautiful white dress. On Lamarr is was stunning. It is not flamboyant or outrageous it is simple in design and fit but the dress and wearer manage to enhanceeach other. Lamarr was ridiculously gorgeous and the dress brought out all her stunning facial and body features. I unfortunately cannot find a better picture than the one I have posted below but trust me in the film, my mouth was on the floor I could not get over the her beauty in the dress and the dress itself. 
            The Conspirators to me was a bit confusing in some scenes and it was too much like Casablanca to be a good story on its own. I suggest just watching The Conspirators for Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid. And also because it is telling a European (melodramatic) side of World War II.