Stamboul Quest (1934)

Genres - Action, Drama, Romance, Spy Film  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Docudrama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 13, 1934 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The future "perfect wife" of the cinema, Myrna Loy, gets to play a duplicitous spy in Stamboul Quest and does so quite winningly. No one was quite like Loy, capable of handling a wide variety of roles yet always having a certain "centered" quality about her, even when going over the deep end, as she does in Stamboul. She's a solid anchor for this film, which relies on her to give it credibility and to keep the audience interested in a character that it may not otherwise have much sympathy for. George Brent is also on hand, in one of his better performances, and he plays very well off of Loy. Lionel Atwill is dependable and Mischa Auer welcome. Director Sam Wood plays with the material in a cat-and-mouse manner, playing up the suspense and intrigue and even the romance, without letting the holes in the screenplay show through. He knows just how to handle his star, how to show her off and use others to set her off, and how to give the other players their appropriate moments in the spotlight as well. He is aided enormously by the evocative camerawork of James Wong Howe, who steeps the picture in suspenseful atmosphere.