Derek Winnert


This article was written on 25 Nov 2017, and is filled under Reviews.

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Confidential Agent ** (1945, Charles Boyer, Lauren Bacall, Katina Paxinou, Peter Lorre, Victor Francen, George Coulouris, Wanda Hendrix, George Zucco, Miles Mander) – Classic Movie Review 6308

Director Herman Shumlin’s faithful and intriguing, but mostly unconvincing and hollow 1945 film of Graham Greene’s classic novel about fascist dealings, diplomacy, romance and murder is wrapped up in the form of an espionage melodrama.

Naturally, a cast as good as this does help, with excellent acting contributions from Charles Boyer, Katina Paxinou, Peter Lorre, Victor Francen, George Coulouris, Wanda Hendrix, George Zucco and Miles Mander. And, despite its duff scripting by the film’s producer Robert Buckner, the film manages many interesting moments.

Boyer is quietly commanding as Luis Denard, a former pianist, General Franco’s man come to England to make a coal deal at the time of the Spanish Civil War. But the young Bacall is oddly cast and uncomfortable and unpersuasive as Rose Cullen, the English tycoon’s daughter who falls for him.

Bacall had universally poor reviews for her performance, in her third film after her much-praised debut in To Have and Have Not. Warner Bros delayed releasing her second movie, The Big Sleep, till after this one was released, and then substantially shot it after pressure by her agent, and its success put her back on course as a new star.

Also in the cast are John Warburton, Holmes Herbert, Dan Seymour, Art Foster, Lawrence Grant and Ian Wolfe.

It is shot in black and white by James Wong Howe and scored by Franz Waxman.

© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 6308

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