A notorious beautiful English woman (Myra) is kicked out of British West Africa to German West Africa, just before the start of World War I. She marries a German colonial official (Erich) ...
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A notorious beautiful English woman (Myra) is kicked out of British West Africa to German West Africa, just before the start of World War I. She marries a German colonial official (Erich) to avoid internment. When Erich's father discovers her past he deports her. Before leaving, an English spy approaches her for help to escape with a vital military map. She must decide her allegiance.Written by
Elissa Landi has just been kicked out of all the British African colonies for all the reasons that women were kicked out of tropical ports in Pre-Code movies. She winds up in German Africa and fascinates Alexander Kirkland, a German officer whose father, Warner Oland, is the captain of the port. The First World War is declared and she's about to be stuck in a penal camp, so Kirkland marries her -- and then Oland tells him why she's there. He doesn't care. The two of them are off in the bush, then, while he's away on maneuvers, along comes Kirkland's buddy, Paul Lukas, and she fascinates him.... and he her.
It was one of the movies that the Majors were producing at the time, of shady ladies caught up in the events of the First World War. MGM had Garbo in MATA HARI and RKO put Helen Twelvetrees in A WOMAN OF EXPERIENCE. Miss Landi gives a wonderful performance here, but somehow she never comes across as someone who sets out to captivate the helpless men. If anything, the script and her performance draws her as someone who does so almost unwillingly, forced into a demi-mondaine's life as a curse, an unwilling Erda.
Frank Lloyd's direction may seem casually uncaring to the modern viewer, with all the characters easily accepting the racist and sexist standards of the times. I think it was a deliberate choice; none of the characters seem aware of what they are doing except for Miss Landi, who sets out to marry Kirkland and frustrate his father in revenge.... and then gets caught in her own web.
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