Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I WAS AN ADVENTURESS (1940). Director: Gregory Ratoff.

Peter Lorre and Erich von Stroheim are con artists who work with a pretty phony countess named Tanya (Vera Zorina, pictured) to fleece the gullible of money and jewelry. But Tanya falls for her latest target, Paul Vernay (Richard Greene), marries him, and runs off, hoping to avoid the grasping, greedy fingers of von Stroheim and his lovable "kleptomaniac" buddy Lorre. Of course the two catch up with her, causing the expected complications. The acting is good -- especially von Stroheim and Lorre -- but the movie isn't memorable. Fritz Feld plays one of the early victims of the trio. Tanya is a ballet dancer as well as a thief so we see her dancing in Swan Lake (Zorina was herself a ballet dancer). This tries hard to be a frothy, light-hearted concoction, but it doesn't quite work. Zorina is pretty and competent but a bit too bland. Even more vivid actresses such as Crawford or Stanwyck might have had trouble making this third-rate material come alive, however.

Verdict: Read a book instead. *1/2.

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