The Conspirators (1944)

Genres - Spy Film, War  |   Sub-Genres - Resistance Film, Psychological Thriller, War Spy Film  |   Release Date - Oct 24, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Clearly intended as a Casablanca rip-off, The Conspirators is a moderately entertaining spy thriller that is in no way in the same league as its predecessor. The plot is intricate, perhaps even convoluted, but the intricacy will be a plus for those willing to stick with it. The dialogue is uneven, but some of it has flair and the air of uncertainty concerning the motives of several characters is well done and effective. Jean Negulescu's direction is also uneven, perhaps reflecting the fact that he was forced to deal with frequent on-set changes in the screenplay which may have prevented him from having a firm handle on where the film was going. Negulescu is probably at his best in the final sequence, when the various strands come together and he's able to concentrate on suspense and tension. He would have had an easier time with a more capable leading duo. Hedy Lamarr is a wonder to behold visually, stunning in practically every frame. Her acting ability, however, does not match her visual allure, and she's especially out of her depth in Conspirators. Paul Henreid is better, but he's also limited as an actor, much better in a supporting role. The chemistry between the two is nonexistent. Fortunately, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre are on hand to provide a couple of delicious supporting performances. Also a decided asset are the handsome sets and costumes, and Max Steiner's score is greatly appreciated.