Dark Journey (1937)

Genres - Romance, Spy Film, War  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, War Spy Film  |   Release Date - Mar 28, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 82 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Dark Journey provides more ammunition -- if any is needed -- to the argument that Vivien Leigh was possibly the most stunning figure ever to appear before a camera. Leigh's beauty is sometimes taken for granted, so familiar is it to viewers of her "big" films, but seeing her in an early film like Journey makes ones appreciate anew the special manner in which her physical being captured the lens of the camera and held it a willing hostage. With such a presence, it's easy to overlook the strength of her sheer dramatic ability, but Leigh's work was almost always focused and compelling. Even in Journey, where she's a bit inexperienced and doesn't quite capture her character to the fullest extent, she's still delicious as an actor. Opposite her, Conrad Veidt has his work cut out for him, but he is more than up to the challenge and manages to keep pace with her from start to finish. They benefit from a fine Alexander Korda production, although Victor Saville's direction is only so-so. More problematic is the screenplay, which is confusing and unclear and which all too often lays there like a lump when it needs to soar at least a bit. Still, with Leigh and Veidt on board, there's enough magic to overcome the flaws.