“There’s nothing as real as money.”
A valet (James Mason) working in Turkey for a British ambassador (Walter Hampden) to Germany enlists the help of an impoverished French countess (Danielle Darrieux) in carrying out espionage, planning to retire to South America with his gains — but will an investigator (Michael Rennie) discover his identity and foil his plans?
- Danielle Darrieux Films
- Joseph L. Mankiewicz Films
- Royalty and Nobility
- Servants, Maids, and Housekeepers
- Widows and Widowers
- World War II
Based on the real-life exploits of Albanian-born spy Elyesa Bazna, this smart thriller — directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and scripted by blacklisted writer Michael Wilson — features Mason giving one of his best performances (not an easy call to make), and remains suspenseful from beginning to end. Mason coolly takes calculated risks to achieve his goal of financial security, collaborating with an equally pragmatic and savvy woman (Darrieux) he believes he can rely on.
The cinematography and sets are appropriately atmospheric, and Bernard Herrmann’s score gives clear indications of what was to come with his best-known work in Psycho (1960).
Note: According to TCM’s article, Mason referred to this as “one of the few films he made in Hollywood that he could still watch with pleasure”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes, as an overall good show.