Great Impersonation (1921)

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Paramount was taking a chance by making this picture -- based on a novel by E. Phillips Oppenheim -- almost two years after the end of World War I. It's a spy story that takes place in the days prior to the "war to end all wars" -- not a popular subject by the end of 1921. Perhaps the studio recognized that the story had potential beyond its historical backdrop, and James Kirkwood rose to the occasion with the dual roles he portrayed. Two former college chums, Englishman Sir Everard Dominey (Kirkwood) and German Leopold Von Ragastein (Kirkwood again) go on a trek to Africa. But the real purpose of the trip is so that Von Ragastein can murder Dominey and gather information for the Fatherland by impersonating the Englishman. Only one man returns from the trip, and he draws the suspicion of Dominey's insane wife, Rosamond (Ann Forrest) and Dominey's uncle, the Duke of Oxford (Winter Hall). The Duke puts Scotland Yard on the case and after an investigation, the man known as Dominey is arrested as a German spy. But there's a twist -it turns out that the man really is Dominey, and any secrets England may want to keep from Germany are safe.

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espionage, royalty