The Dawn Express
It opens exactly like Kafka’s Der Prozess. After some exposition, Herman gets up some real mischief in The Tavern, with a track-out on Fielding’s entrance and a track-left without pause into the restaurant proper. This whole scene, to the accompaniment of Die Sch÷ne Blaue Donau, is nothing but sinister glances and counter-glances, in a set later used by CBS in The Wild, Wild West (where the blind watchman also appears) and Perry Mason.
The “Dawn Express” is a memory of Hitler’s plane in Triumph des Willens. The spy ring is evidently the same bunch who ran Roma, CittÓ Aperta. The acting is wonderful, and it’s a very amusing film about getting wise to spies.
The elegance of its position is the resolution along the lines of Samson in the Temple of Dagon demonstrating a scientific discovery, or Marathon Man meets the Book of Judges.
A Yank in Libya
A breezy reporter, “teeming with vitamins”, very stalwart as well, uncovers a Nazi plan to arm the Arab tribes.
He strolls into the British Consul’s office with the latest Hirohito-Hitler joke.
The opening scene is one of the best, in Arab mufti he flees pursuing tribesmen, enters a girl’s room, she points a small pistol at him, he pulls a Mauser rifle from his robes and asks her to hide it.
Melford’s The Sheik comes in handy, Parkyakarkus is with U.S. Military Intelligence.