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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Margin For Error (1943)

Prior to America's entry into WWII, a Jewish policeman (Milton Berle) is assigned to act as the bodyguard to the German consulate (Otto Preminger), who has been using monies sent to him from Nazi Germany intended for sabotage for his own personal use. The consulate must also deal with a wife (Joan Bennett) who despises him. Based on a Broadway play by Clare Boothe Luce (THE WOMEN) with Preminger recreating his stage role, Preminger also directed. Originally staged prior to America's entry into WWII, by the time the film was made and released, the war was on and the film had lost whatever bite the play may have had. The end result is a simplistic bit of propaganda that wears out its welcome before its end especially Preminger's annoying caricature. I'm not a fan of Nazi comedies like Lubtisch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE or Chaplin's THE GREAT DICTATOR and this film doesn't do anything to persuade me differently. None of the biting wit of Luce's THE WOMEN is evident here and it could have used it. With Carl Esmond, Howard Freeman and Poldi Dur.

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