Myrna Loy landed her fist solo starring role in this unfortunately titled movie, which is much better than its box-office receipts would indicate. Loy plays a German heroine (a cinematic rarity in those days) modeled on the real woman known as Fraulein Doktor, said to have ordered the
death of Mata Hari when she learned that her more celebrated fellow spy had fallen in love. The film begins in 1915, when Lionel Atwill, the no-nonsense chief of operations for the Kaiser's intelligence office, worries that the Allies have gained access to information about Germany's military
operations in the Dardanelles. In order to stem the flow of data, he orders his top operative, Loy, to Turkey, where chief suspect C. Henry Gordon runs the Turkish military units and, the Germans think, may be trading information for money. In Berlin, Loy meets American medical student George
Brent, who falls head over heels for her without knowing that she is an undercover agent. He follows her to Constantinople, and Loy must keep him at arm's length in order to complete her mission, even though she, too, is falling in love. After she pinpoints the culprit, Loy learns from Atwill that
Brent has been shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, news that causes her to suffer a breakdown. However, after repairing to a monastery in an attempt to regain her mental health, she discovers that Atwill has been lying, and she is eventually reunited with her American love.
This melodramatic plotline is considerably enlivened by Herman Mankiewicz's sparkling, insightful script and the refreshing switch in which an assertive female character is paired with a naive male. Veteran director Sam Wood nicely handles the action and builds suspense, and the film is further
enhanced by a compelling romance and excellent cinematography by James Wong Howe. The film's historical background also formed the basis of the 1937 French film MADEMOISELLE DOCTEUR, starring Erich Von Stroheim, Clare Luce, and Dita Parlo; later, Suzy Kendall played the title role in Paramount's
1969 release FRAULEIN DOKTOR.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Myrna Loy landed her fist solo starring role in this unfortunately titled movie, which is much better than its box-office receipts would indicate. Loy plays a German heroine (a cinematic rarity in those days) modeled on the real woman known as Fraulein Dok… (more)