The Conspirators Film Details
Overview: During WW2, in neutral Portugal, a Dutch resistance fighter is attempting to find passage to England while trying to avoid Nazi spies and Portuguese policemen.
Review: In the justly famous film Casablanca, Richard Blain (Rick) is seated at a table in his nightclub with Nazi Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) who is quizzing him informally. A dolt-like officer companion of Strasser’s is on hand as well. Rick is testy with him but more cooperative with Strasser. In a rejoinder to a remark the major makes concerning his birthplace, Bogart’s Rick adroitly rubs his chin and slyly says something like, “There are certain parts of New York City I wouldn’t advise you to go at night.” By coincidence, within a short time after that viewing I came across a movie entitled All Through the Night with Bogart, Veidt, and Peter Lorre. The setting is NYCity, and it has Nazis infiltrating. I assumed it was a spin-off, but now I see it was released in 1942, the year before Casablanca. Yesterday I bump into The Conspirators, 1944, at the very beginning and became interested enough to put up with it. I didn’t know it existed. I noticed similarities to Casablanca: Veidt, Lorre, Greenstreet, Henreid, and many who played minor roles or whose faces are panned in a crowd. Henreid is wounded slightly in the arm here, similar to getting it cut while breaking through a window in Casablanca. Here, however, a bullet is removed and he loses neither strength nor mobility. One of several examples of unconvincing portrayal or continuity. Lisbon, so yearned for in Casablanca but never attained by Rick or Renault, is the setting, the open port to freedom. The only one in Europe. The fog scenes are poor. Parts of scenes here are nearly copied from the greater film: market place, cafés, streets, and so on. Lines are sometimes very similar. Leo Rosten is a writer of All Through the Night and of The Conspirators. He has apparently been hired to do a quick job of imitating Casablanca to capitalize on its popularity. Romance triangle, gambling tables, too, and so on. Nevertheless, I began to think that had they taken more care, Conspirators could have been much better. But instead of care they became careless with clichés. The climax is so poorly done that I can’t rate this film above 4. Members of the spy network headed by Greenstreet are among others seated around a roulette table. Greenstreet and Henreid are standing tense in anticipation of 3 numbers that will be played moments before 1:00 a.m., and that will be the clue to the infiltrating spy. The scene drags. The clock reveals 10 minutes to the hour, then 5 several times, and finally it creeps. The camera pans and the editing takes us many times across and around without skill. Ditto on the faces of Henreid and Greenstreet. And when the villain is revealed, the ending is dragged through a shootout in the fog, again. Hedy Lamar is useful but not very convincing; always in need of good direction, she get none here. Her husband is a Veidt-like German named Hugo. Whatever talent is hired for this film is nearly wasted. The background music gets too close to Casablanca’s, also, and is hurried and cluttered, indistinct, and adds virtually nothing. Sorry to say, I think this film is interesting mostly as a comparison and as a how-NOT-to-do-it production. But worth watching for Lamar’s face and to see how close a director can come without succeeding. Deadlines may have been too much for him. For instance, the talented Greenstreet isn’t allowed to be the convincing actor he often was. Lorre, ditto. Henreid is given much opportunity, but he’s an actor who needs better direction or editing. Lamar? Well, mostly we study her face and wonder about all those wonderful garments that cover a body as indistinct as the music and the plot. 625 words
Language: English, German, French
Duration: 101 min
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller, War
Also known as: Almas de fuego,Конспираторы,Oi synomotai,Les conspirateurs,Konspiratorzy,Conspiratorii,The Conspirators,Los conspiradores,Lizbon Perisi,Zaverenici,Összeesküvők,Konspiratörer,Give Me This Woman,Ring der Verschworenen,I cospiratori,Der Ring der Verschworenen,Yö Lissabonissa,De samenzweerders,Conspiradores,Os Conspiradores