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Friday, November 19, 2010

A Lady Without Passport (1950)

When an illegal alien is killed by an auto, an investigation shows he came from Cuba. An immigrations officer (John Hodiak) goes undercover in Cuba, posing as a Hungarian eager to get to the United States, in an attempt to track down and arrest those dealing in human smuggling. But when he falls for a beautiful concentration camp survivor (Hedy Lamarr) also eager to be smuggled into the U.S., complications and loyalties ensue. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, who directed the cult favorite GUN CRAZY, it's a fairly engrossing adventure with some exteriors actually shot in pre-Castro Cuba and an MGM soundstage believably passing for Havana. Surprisingly, the film ends up being fairly sympathetic to the undocumented alien dilemma. George Macready (GILDA) makes for a convincing oily, human smuggler whose intentions aren't altruistic but financial. The lovely jewel of a score is by David Raksin (LAURA) and the atmospheric cinematography by Oscar winner Paul Vogel (TIME MACHINE). With James Craig, Steven Hill, Richard Crane, Ann Codee and King Donovan.

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