- by ZoŽ Shaw
Pat is a radio
correspondent, covering Europe in 1938, when he meets Kate. She is married
to Baron Von Luber, an Austrian who is a Nazi secret agent. Pat falls in
love with Kate, whilst trying to expose the Baron as an agent.
- by Donna Moore
Set in 1938, Ginger Rogers is a burlesque queen from New
York, passing herself off as a socialite from Philadelphia. She is about to get married to
an Austrian baron who is suspected of being a Nazi. Cary Grant is the news commentator
sent to get an interview with her to try and find out about the baron.
She thinks the baron is saving countries, in actual fact he
is helping Hitler to conquer them. Their honeymoon is spent going round the countries
Hitler subsequently invades. "My husband is a jinx. Every time we go to a new country
it falls," muses Ginger. Eventually she realizes that her husband is a Nazi and
escapes with Cary Grant. The film follows their escapades all over Europe and beyond....
The film is full of propaganda and sometimes the comedy
fails since the subject is so serious. Nevertheless, Cary is as gorgeous as ever and
Ginger Rogers is a great co-star.
Film Review - November 4, 1942
- by "Walt"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Projected against European war background, with a mixture of drama
and adult comedy-romance, 'Once Upon a Honeymoon' is geared for
strong biz as topline attraction - with Ginger Rogers and Cary
Grant bright marquee voltage.
Producer-director Leo McCarey
develops hit tale at a decidedly slow pace, and despite the
overlength footage, succeeds in holding attention most of the way
through. Particularly deft is the maneuvering of Miss Rogers
and Grant, with both smacking over topnotch performances to add
much in holding attention.
Story picks up Miss Rogers as a
naive golddigger and former stripper from Flatbush in Vienna on
the eve of her wedding to influential Nazi, Walter Slezak.
Grant, American war correspondent, meets her and falls in love,
following the honeymooning couple through eastern Europe until he
convinces Miss Rogers her husband is Hitler's finger man.
She ditches Slezak, after Warsaw bombing, to escape with Grant
through Scandinavian countries and eventually land in France where
pair team up with Albert Dekker, American espionage agent in on
confidential Nazi information. Pair hop a ship for America,
with Slezak disposed of en route for the final clinch.
In deliberately focusing attention
on Miss Rogers and Grant, McCarey spent much time on development
of incidents, with result that there's an overload of dialog and
too much footage devoted to secondary sequences. Even with
these drawbacks, picture holds together in good shape, and McCarey
has done much with what might otherwise have emerged as a fragile
Starring combo of Miss Rogers and
Grant provides pair of sterling performances that do much to carry
the extended and intimate tale through its lengthy
unreeling. Excellent support is provided by Slezak, Dekker,
Albert Basserman, and Ferike Boros. Picture is mounted in
suitable 'A' fashion, with brief newsreel clips inserted at
various points to establish European locales during early days of
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - November 13, 1942
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
McCarey is a brilliant director, and Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant
are talented stars. But their "Once Upon a Honeymoon,"
which came yesterday to the Radio City Music Hall, does not do
particular credit to any one of the three - least of all to Mr.
McCarey, who helped write as well as produce and direct it. For
this time the versatile gentleman, who has proved his capabilities
in several styles, has made the fatal error of mixing romantic
comedy with a theme which is essentially tragic and far from
His story - in
itself rather hackneyed - concerns an American ex-strip tease
artiste who marries an undercover Nazi in Vienna back in 1938
simply because she is digging wherever she thinks there is gold.
Then along comes an American reporter who patiently reveals to her
that her husband is a fingerman for Hitler, that every country he
goes to is very soon Goebbeled up. In Warsaw, after the Luftwaffe
strikes it, Miss America and the reporter join forces, jump around
through Norway, Holland and Belgium and finally arrive in Nazified
Paris, where they do a bit of obscure sabotaging and then cut
loose for home.
Even without any
particular emphasis the imposition of a breezy romance upon a
background of Europe in torture would be in markedly dubious
taste. The spectacle of Mr. Grant and Miss Rogers flirting airily
amid the ruins of Warsaw is not intellectually enjoyable. But when
Mr. McCarey has the Nazis mistake them for Jews and injects a
scene of vaudeville burlesque (with a derby pulled down over Mr.
Grant's ears) before casting them, momentarily, into a mournful
concentration camp, the effort is downright offensive. R. McCarey
has produced a callous film.
More than that, he
has committed the error of making the Nazis out to be treacherous
villains on the one hand and artless buffoons on the other. A man
who commits assassinations just isn't a butt for comic ridicule.
And, perhaps because of confusion in his own mind as to the
picture's tone, he has made it emotionally uneven and decidedly
overlong and devious.
It must be said,
however, that the actors give good performances of what they have
to do. Miss Rogers gets across with subtle shadings the character
of a crafty gold digger, and Mr. Grant is, as usual, very charming
and arch as the smart reporter. A couple of their comic scenes
together are played to perfection. Walter Slezak is tremendously
impressive as the Nazi weasel throughout most of the film and gets
beyond his compass only when he has to be foolishly vain. Albert
Dekker, Albert Besserman and Ferike Boros are expert in smaller
roles and Natasha Lytess shines with clear and poignant brilliance
in a brief part as a Jewish chambermaid.
"Once Upon a
Honeymoon" lost nothing in performance, obviously. But it
gained very little from its authors. It is a very strand and stark
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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