Archive for The Conspirators

Legion of Forgotten Men

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on May 14, 2009 by dcairns


Over at the Auteurs’ Notebook, you can find both a new Forgotten, featuring yet more Duvivier-based fun, and the third and, for now, final installment in my Thugs with Ugly Mugs series.

Quote of the Day: Good Manners Cost Nothing

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2009 by dcairns


THE CONSPIRATORS is a rather uninspired CASABLANCA imitation, seemingly inspired by the delusion that what we really wanted in that movie was more Paul Henreid, but it does have a sort of slow-burn gag as it goes on, relating to the casting. We all know that anybody foreign can play anybody foreign in classic Hollywood, but Jean Negulesco, perhaps irked at being the only Romanian director in town, takes things to extremes here —

Henreid, an Austro-Hungarian, plays a Dutchman, while his fellow-countrywoman Hedy Lamar plays French. Belgian Victor Francen plays a German. Sidney Greenstreet, a man of Kent, plays Portuguese, as do the Maltese Joseph Calleia, the Italian Eduardo Cianelli and the Russian Vladimir Sokoloff. Even the minor German stooges are played by Hungarian and Polish actors. Russian Gregory Gaye plays a Norwegian red herring. Absolutely NOBODY in this film is playing the correct nationality.

Peter Lorre (our MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH connection) plays Jan Bernazsky, which seems in keeping with everybody else, and he’s good value. Known in England as “the walking overcoat” due to his distinctive dress style, by now he has lost a ton of weight, had his teeth fixed, and looks a little drawn, a little more turtle-like. 

Lorre: “Oh, I am the least important of our trio, in fact I have nothing to recommend me except — always good manners.”

Greenstreet: “Always?”

Lorre: “Oh, up to a point: a man can lose his patience.”