Polish flying officer Walbrook, facing suicide in attempting to repel the Luftwaffe aircraft during the German invasion of Poland at the onset of WW II, is tricked by his flying companions into journeying to Rumania and safety. (They regard him as more valuable for his musical talents
than for his aerial skills.) Before his departure, he meets and quickly marries American journalist Gray with whom he reunites during a musical concert tour of the U.S. to raise funds for the Polish resistance. Disturbed by the valiant sacrifices of his one-time flying compatriots, he opts for
combat, joining the brave remnants of that group in the Polish Squadron of Britain's Royal Air Force over the objections of his rediscovered wife. His very Irish friend de Marney attempts unsuccessfully to reconcile the two, and, following a fierce argument, de Marney is killed in combat. Blaming
himself for his problems, Walbrook--out of ammunition--deliberately crashes his fighter plane into a German bomber. Recovering, but with his memory gone, he again meets his wife. She seats him at a piano and urges him to play. The amnesiac Walbrook recovers his wits and his wife as the strains of
Addinsell's "Warsaw Concerto" fill the theater. At the time the film was made, England had quota restrictions on the number of foreign (largely U.S.) pictures that could be exhibited domestically. American companies responded by financing films made in England, using English talent and facilities,
and then lobbying hard for quota concessions. RKO moguls had little hope for successful U.S. distribution for this film; they leased domestic rights--for a limited period only--to Republic Pictures, whose executives had more faith in it. It did reasonably well; the "Warsaw Concerto" was the making
of the movie and was a milestone in cinema history: the record made from the soundtrack was the first soundtrack blockbuster in history. Well after Republic's lease ran out, RKO reissued the film.
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- Review: Polish flying officer Walbrook, facing suicide in attempting to repel the Luftwaffe aircraft during the German invasion of Poland at the onset of WW II, is tricked by his flying companions into journeying to Rumania and safety. (They regard him as more val… (more)