After a Spy

Gilbert Roland and Constance Bennett in After Tonight (1933) (aka: Sealed Lips)

On his way to Vienna, Captain Rudolph "Rudy" Ritter (Gilbert Roland) has his attention grabbed by Karen Schöntag, aka Carla Vanirska (Constance Bennett) who has tried but failed to buy a ticket to Vienna. Being a gentleman and a charmer Rudy helps her out and they travel back together. In Vienna Rudy is in charge of a team on the hunt for a spy known as "K-14" and maybe he is closer to the spy than he could have ever imagined.

Espionage 1933 style is like so many older movies an acquired taste one which I will admit is not mine and truthfully was grateful that "After Tonight", which is also known as "Sealed Lips", is only 71 minutes long. In fact I would say that the appeal of "After Tonight" for audiences now comes down to those who are fancs on Constance Bennett and can appreciate her performance in comparison to her other movies. Although having read up on this it seems that RKO blamed her for this movie's failure back in 1933 but that may have been down to this being Bennett's final movie for RKO.

Anyway "After Tonight" is a pretty obvious movie as we are made aware quite early on that Karen, who masquerades as a nurse and singer amongst other things is in fact a spy and the spy in question which the Australian Intelligence Service is looking for in conjunction with a plot to destroy the Government. So of course we have the complications which ensure when Rudy falls for her unaware that she is the spy he is after. And as to how this romance plays out, well it is pretty obvious when there is romance involved.

The thing is that whilst some of these older movies can still sustain a level on intrigue "After Tonight" doesn't and far too often it is unsubtle in dropping clues. On top of that Gilbert Roland seems at a loss as to how to play his part and it is incredible to think that 8 years after this movie was released Roland and Bennett would end up getting married.

What this all boils down to is that "After Tonight" might have entertained audiences back in 1933 but unlike some old movies it doesn't really grab new audiences making it a movie more for those who are fans of the movies of Constance Bennett.

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