The Great Impersonation (1935)

Genres - Action, Mystery, Spy Film  |   Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The Great Impersonation is based on the E. Phillips Oppenheim espionage novel of the same name, previously filmed in 1921. During WW I, drunken, dissolute British nobleman Everard Dominey (Edmund Lowe) wanders into the African jungle, where he meets his exact double, German spy Von Ragenstein (also Edmund Lowe). The scene shifts back to England, where, apparently, Von Ragenstein has assumed Dominey's identity after the latter is reported killed. The actual identity of the protagonist is kept secret until the very end. Either way, it's a story of redemption: If he's really Von Ragenstein, he may very well be persuaded to cast his lot with the British; if he's really Dominey, he might just sober up and assume his proper place in society. The film is brightened by the presence of two former Bride of Frankenstein co-stars: Valerie Hobson, then only a teenager, delivers one of her best performances as Dominey's distraught wife, while Dwight Frye goes through his usual "Renfield" paces as a roving lunatic. Both the 1935 Great Impersonation and the 1945 remake with Ralph Bellamy and Evelyn Ankers were later included in Universal's "Shock Theater" TV package, even though both films are more suspenseful than shocking.

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Keywords

espionage, agent [representative], castle, English [nationality], Germany, impersonation, loot, nobility, organization, plans, scheme, secrets, weapons, weapons-dealer