This week’s mystery movie (and sadly, a fairly poor print) has been the 1939 British film “Spy in Black,” the debut of “the Archers”: director Michael Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger. It featured Conrad Veidt, Sebastian Shaw and Valerie Hobson, with Marius Goring, June Duprez, Athole Stewart, Agnes Laughlan, Helen Haye, Cyril Raymond, George Summers, Hay Petrie, Grant Sutherland, Robert Rendel, Mary Morris, Margaret Moffatt, Kenneth Warrington and our mystery guest from last week, Torin Thatcher.
The movie was produced by Irving Asher, based on a story by J. Storer Clouston, screenplay by Pressburger and scenario by Roland Pertwee. The supervising art director was Vincent Korda, with art direction by Frederick Pusey, photography by Bernard Browne, music by Miklos Rozsa and musical direction by Muir Mathieson.
The DVD is available from a number of sources on Amazon and Amazon UK. The Valerie Hobson Collection (out of print, apparently) supposedly has a sharp transfer of the film, judging by reviews on Amazon.
Oct. 16, 1939: “Spy in Black” is to open in Los Angeles as “U-Boat 29” with “Rio,” as advertised in the Los Angeles Times.
Writing in the New York Times (Oct. 6, 1939), film critic Frank S. Nugent said:
The early arrival of a U-boat on Broadway was only to be expected after the vague alarms recently sounded off Massachusetts, the Grand Banks and Alaska. And of course the logical base for such a charming little visitor (it answers to the name of “U-Boat 29”) was the Globe, where land, air and underwater marvels are continuously on view, even in peace time. What didn’t necessarily follow but what fortunately does, is the fact that “U-Boat 29” is the most exciting spy melodrama since the advent of the Second World War. The British may not have the Bremen, but they still have Conrad Veidt.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 18, 1939), film critic John L. Scott said:
Only difference between “U-Boat 29,” fictional screen play that opened yesterday and what actually happened recently at Scapa Flow is that in the film the submarine didn’t sink a British battleship. This picture, produced by Irving Asher in England, turns out to be as timely as the latest red hot wire dispatch from the battlefront.
For Monday, we have a mystery chap.
Update: This is Bernard Miles.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery chap.
Update: This is Marius Goring.
Note: Three people identified our mystery movie from the first image. Most impressive!
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest), Mary Mallory (Monday’s mystery guest), Victor H. Brown (Monday’s mystery guest), Patrick (Monday’s mystery guest), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest), Mike Hawks (mystery movie’s nation of origin, Monday’s mystery guest) and Sheila (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).
For Wednesday, we have a mystery woman…
Update: This is Esma Cannon.
… and these mystery ladies.
Update: This is Margaret Moffatt, left, and June Duprez.
Wednesday’s Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guest) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery guests).
For Thursday, we have an especially mysterious mystery woman.
Update: This is Valerie Hobson.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery women), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 3), Victor H. Brown (Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 1, wrong movie) and Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery women Nos. 2 and 3).
And for Friday, our leading man.
Update: This is Conrad “Maj. Strasser” Veidt.
Brain Trust roll call: Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery woman) and Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery woman).