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Hotel Reserve (1944)

Approved | | Thriller | 28 June 1946 (USA)
A hunt for a spy, in an hotel in the South of France just before World War Two.


Lance Comfort, Mutz Greenbaum (as Max Greene) | 1 more credit »


Eric Ambler (adapted from the novel "Epitaph For A Spy" by), John Davenport (adaptation)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Peter Vadassy
Lucie Mannheim ... Mme Suzanne Koch
Raymond Lovell Raymond Lovell ... Robert Duclos
Julien Mitchell Julien Mitchell ... Michel Beghin, intelligence chief
Herbert Lom ... Andre Roux
Martin Miller ... Walter Vogel
Clare Hamilton Clare Hamilton ... Mary Skelton
Frederick Valk Frederick Valk ... Emil Schimler, alias Paul Heimberger
Patricia Medina ... Odette Roux
Anthony Shaw Anthony Shaw ... Major Anthony Chandon-Hartley
Lawrence Hanray Lawrence Hanray ... Police Commissioner
David Ward David Ward ... Henri Asticot
Valentine Dyall ... Warren Skelton
Joseph Almas Joseph Almas ... Albert, the waiter (as Josef Almas)
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Woman


An Austrian medical student living and working in France is hauled in by the police while on holiday in the south of the country. Accused of espionage he is sent back to his hotel to find out who might really be the spy. Not only his freedom but his chance of becoming a French citizen rests on what he can uncover. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Death Signs the Register




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 June 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Epitaph for a Spy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Clare Hamilton, who plays Mary Skelton, was the sister of Maureen O' Hara. This would be her one and only screen appearance. See more »


When Vadassy's film is examined in the viewer, positive images are seen, although they are referred to several times as negatives. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A holiday...in France...before the war...yet even then the plane-trees and cypresses of the South cast shadows in the sun.

It happened in August 1938 ... See more »

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User Reviews

Where were you Alfred, when James needed you?
29 November 2003 | by gleywongSee all my reviews

One wonders what this movie would have become if Hitchcock had gotten his hands on it. Would he have revved up the plot, tightened up the script, recast some of the characters, put in a highway chase over the countryside interrupted by sheep, added a more appealing female interest for Mason? The climb up to the roof at the end, the strong lighting and direct closeups, the art and photographic direction(seemingly uncredited to one of the directors),as well as the music score and the general "look" of the film, not to mention James Mason's compelling presence all had the ingredients for a potential Hitchcockian thriller, but something is missing here. The plot's not that complicated (certainly not like "The Lady Vanishes") and there seems not to be enough risk or sense of danger (certainly not like "The 39 Steps")to Mason's life, although there is suspense and surprise along the way. One big weakness is the supporting cast. The young lady's character (can't even remember her name) isn't developed enough, nor does she have sufficient charm or sex appeal, as a Hitchcockian heroine would.

Still one watches it for Mason, before he has developed any overt mannerisms or been sadly type-cast as a villain. He seems to have made a number of these not-quite-up-to-snuff pictures in his career. Was he hard up? why didn't Hitchcock cast him and why didn't he ever accept a Powell & Pressburger offer? His presence on any number of these "grade-b" films, including the brief appearance in "Madame Bovary" (with Jenifer Jones), for example, or in the disappointing "Mayerling," adds a sense of gravitas to any of the proceedings in which he appeared, but the scripts and directors fail him, if not the cast.

Fortunately, he can be remembered for his appearance as Captain Nemo in "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea," and Sir Randolph Nettleby in "Shooting Party," both of which tapped his natural dignity and aristocratic bearing and surrounded him with a worthy cast. See those for Mason at his best.

Of four stars****, two and a half.

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