They Dare Not Love Film Details
Overview: An Austrian prince flees his homeland when the Nazis take over and settles in London. While in London, he meets a beautiful Austrian émigré who makes him realize his mistake in leaving …
Review: Though I am still going through my virtually comprehensive Luis Bunuel retrospective, with this film I start tackling the unwatched work of another favorite film-maker – James Whale. For a long time, I was only familiar with his 4 horror classics but, little by little, I came upon the rest of his oeuvre and, at this stage, am only missing one i.e. PORT OF SEVEN SEAS (1938). What I have checked out so far of his non-horror efforts, all have proved extremely stylish and engaging, and even boasted distinct elements of his trademark quirkiness. This, then, is his official swan-song – in 1949 he contributed an episode to an unreleased compendium, HELLO OUT THERE. Incidentally, the film under review does not have a good reputation at all: the director was unhappy with his last handful of assignments, since he had fallen out of favor due to the openness of his homosexuality – but this is really the first I have watched to display a lack of commitment on his part!; by the way, it is unclear what uncredited directors Fleming and Vidor contributed to the film, or whether he stepped in for them or they replaced him. Anyway, it is one of a number of efforts intended to further the cause of the conflict in Europe at a time when the U.S. was still not involved; as such, it is atypically ponderous for Whale, though the surface polish he was renowned for is still very much in evidence. Another drawback is the lack of chemistry between its two stars: George Brent (he is his usual suave self, despite purporting to be an exiled Austrian playboy prince who suddenly acquires a conscience and takes to ‘fighting’ the Nazis!) and Martha Scott (fresh out of her prestigious success and an Oscar nomination with OUR TOWN  but highly miscast as Brent’s love interest, the daughter of an eminent Professor who, once settled in America, incongruously takes to running a bar!). Much better is Paul Lukas, in his element as the chief Nazi, a local aristocrat who will not leave Brent alone – to his ultimate dismay! A good deal of the narrative occurs during sea voyages, with the first taking our four protagonists from Austria to the U.S. and then backwards, except that the ship’s destination is actually Germany (Brent having bartered his life for that of seven other compatriots – the catch is that one of them, Edgar Barrier as Scott’s fiancé, is actually a Nazi himself who had alerted Lukas to the hero’s escape in the first place!). This lengthy climactic sequence gives early roles to both Lloyd Bridges and Peter Cushing, has the Captain take the side of the ‘prisoners’ (he even officiates during their wedding ceremony!) and ends with the ship being torpedoed by the British (after the Captain concealed a coded message from Germany of the enemy’s imminent arrival!). Mind you, the film is in no way painful to watch (there is even comedy relief courtesy of Lukas’ befuddled associate!) and, as I said, quite good to look at only it is nowhere near the heights Whale had attained with his best work. Unfortunately, the quality of the print (probably a 16mm source, so rare is the film) left much to be desired – as the image fluttered on occasion and a stretch of it even suffered from dampened audio!
Duration: 75 min
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, War
Also known as: Após a Derrota,They Dare Not Love,Proibidos de Amar,Otto giorni di vita,El principe desterrado,O Príncipe Desterrado,We Dare Not Love