On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, ... See full summary »
Queen Elizabeth is running this show. The men in her court should be thinking about how to add to the glory of the Elizabethan Age and how to foil those pesky Spanish who got far too much ... See full summary »
William K. Howard
Madeline Goddard is a smart young woman who owns a fashionable dress shop in neutral Sweden during World War One. Though she is grateful to avoid the fighting, the courageous and stunningly pretty Madeline feels she should be doing more for her native France. She volunteers to work as an intelligence agent, smuggling maps and other documents within the fashionable garments she ships to wealthy customers in London. Madeline's activities are so successful that British intelligence soon comes to rely on her as their main pipeline for information. At about this time, a British official in Sweden asks her to cultivate the friendship of Baron Karl Von Marwitz, a tall, distinguished-looking German officer who is in charge of counter-espionage activities at the German embassy. Unknown to Madeline, the baron has been sent to Sweden for the express purpose of discovering and eliminating the top British spy who has been smuggling out German war plans. When Madeline and Karl meet, each recognizes...Written by
One of the most closely guarded secrets of the war, a Q-ship was a heavily armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry designed to lure German submarines into making surface attacks and then open fire and sink them. The idea was to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Their codename referred to their home port of Queenstown (now Cobh) in County Cork, Ireland. See more »
The story takes place in 1918, but all of Vivien Leigh's fashions and hairstyles, as well as those of the other women in the cast, are strictly up-to-the minute 1937 modes. See more »
I've never seen such a change of habit with the Baron. It used to be all girls with no clothes; now it's all girls with clothes. Pity.
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Cinema uber villain Conrad Veidt and delicate Vivien Leigh make for an odd but absorbing couple as spies on opposite sides in this suspense romance. Veidt's nefarious allure and usual commitment to cruelty is tempered long enough to get the attention of Miss Leigh and it gives the somewhat convoluted (she's a double agent) story a suspense that sustains itself up until the final moments.
Madeline Goddard (Leigh) poses as a Stockholm dress shop owner while spying for Germany in neutral Sweden. Baron Karl Von Marwitz (Veidt) arrives in Stockholm to put the war behind him and live an epicurean existence of wine women and song. He also is merely posing. Goddard and Marwitz eventually become entangled and the passion between the two distracts them momentarily from their assignments which is to expose each other.
Veidt and Leigh have some excellent scenes together fraught with suspense and romance as they parry back and forth using charm and suspicion for weapons. In spite of their contrasting stature they display a nice change of pace chemistry with director Victor Seville maintaining a degree of ambiguity with both leads late into the film as they struggle with duty and desire.
There's a rousing gun battle between a sub and disguised transport in the finale with a somewhat schmaltzy climax that hinders the film, but Veidt and Leigh create enough fireworks of their own to make Desperate Journey worth the watch.
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