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Tangier

USA 1946
produced by
Paul Malvern, Joseph Gershenson (executive) for Universal
directed by George Waggner
starring Maria Montez, Robert Paige, Preston Foster, Louise Allbritton, Kent Taylor, Sabu, J. Edward Bromberg, Reginald Denny, Charles Judels, Francis McDonald, Ernö Verebes, Dorothy Lawrence, George Lynn, William E.Green, Phil Garris, Charles Wagenheim, Charles Stevens, Margaret Hoffman
story by Alice D.G. Miller, screenplay by Monte Collins, M.M. Musselman, music by Milton Rosen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jobless journalist Paul Kenyon (Robert Paige) resides in post war Tangier to track down Nazi villain Balazar - for a story that will get him back on the good side with his paper. His trail leads him right to temperamental dancer Rita (Maria Montez), and even though the two of them won't admit it, they fall in love at first sight. She plays a key figure in tracking down Balazar though, as she and her two partners Ramon (Kent Taylor) and Dolores (Louise Allbritton) are also on Balazar's trail - and a lot closer than Kenyon is - because he shot their parents in Spain and now they want revenge.

Then though a murder happens, a former Nazi spy (Reginald Denny) who's in league with Balazar, and Kenyon, Rita, Ramon and Dolores are all shipped off to the police station to be questioned - not so much because of the murder but because of the diamond the deceased has been carrying that has now gone missing. Ramon and Rita have an alibi though, they were dancing on stage - but were they?

No, of course not, Dolores had doubled for Rita while she dashed off to steal the diamond, and during the dance, Ramon slipped backstage just long enough to kill the spy. Despite her alibi, and despite the fact that he has fallen in love with Rita, the chief of police Artiego (Preston Foster) still is suspicious of Rita, but of course he can't pin anything on her, and she's clever enough to always hide the diamond from him. She can fool everybody it seems ... everybody but Kenyon that is, but as mentioned before, he's on her side and he's in love with her.

Eventually, Rita finds a trail directly to Balazar, and while Dolores doubles for her on stage once more, she plans to kill him. But when she faces Rocco (J.Edward Brombert), the guy she believes to be Balazar, she finds him prepared, and soon finds herself unarmed. In the meantime, Kenyon, Ramon, Dolores, Rita and captain Artiego all find out where she has gone and dash to her rescue ... but after Rocco is disarmed, suddenly everyone finds himself at the mercy of captain Artiego, who now turns out to be the real Balazar, and after he has forced the diamond out of Rita after all, he tries to make a getaway with Dolores, who has caught his eye ... but she sees to it that he crashes in an elevator, even if it costs her own life as well.

In the end, Kenyon and Rita fly to the USA together. They have returned the diamond to Rocco, its rightful owner so to speak and actually a Nazi-hunter, but Kenyon has the story of his lifetime in his hands ...

Maria Montez' frequent co-star Sabu plays a naive nightclub singer here, but his character has no narrative function.

 

In equal parts crime and espionage story and escapist fare one has come to expect from Maria Montez, Tangier comes across a bit like a poor man's Casablanca - with quite entertaining results: On one hand, the movie's film noir atmosphere is pretty appealing and one can't but admit it's elegantly filmed, on the other, the story, albeit convoluted, is endlessly naive and simplistic, and despite involving then current events seems to take place out of space and time. And good and evil is always clearly distinguishable (quite unlike in proper film noirs).

Of course, in terms of quality, the film is nowhere near Casablanca, as it lacks the directorial subtlety, the great actors, and the clever script, and it's probably not even a film you'll remember for long (again, unlike Casablanca - but it's actually fun while it lasts at least ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD