Candlelight in Algeria (1944)
The Casbah by Candlelight
American artist Susan Foster (Carla Lehmann) discovers on the run British agent Alan Thurston (James Mason) stealing money from the home of her aunt but rather than handing him to Nazi Dr. Muller (Walter Rilla) listens to what he says. It seems that in Algeria there is a camera containing the plans for where the allies are to rehearse the invasion of North Africa is to take place and Thurston is to retrieve it before it falls in to the wrong hands. But Susan whilst sceptical of Thurston is grateful when he rescues her from Muller and after developing the film shoot their way out of danger in a Casbah to get to the allies to warn them that the Nazis are coming.
You need to be a fan of wartime noir to appreciate "Candlelight in Algeria", a snappy little drama about an American sculptress who finds herself involved in the dangerous world of wartime espionage. That is my conclusion after watching this movie and reading some opinions which praised it whilst I only found it a typical but no less entertaining.
Now "Candlelight in Algeria" ticks over nicely, rarely wasting a minute of its running time with stylistic excess or pointless story developments which means rarely does it become tedious from a lack of story movement. And director George King keeps things crisp so that it keeps on skipping along so that it never feels like it is drawing out a one idea story. Basically it ticks a lot of boxes on a check list of things which work in a wartime film noir.
But the thing is that it did little for me and failed to draw me in to the intrigue playing out on the screen which may ironically be down to King keeping things ticking over so well that he fails to give us any real character development. If it wasn't for the fact James Mason and Carla Lehmann have a certain appeal about them then it would have been even harder to concentrate on the unfolding drama.
What this all boils down to is that unless you are a lover of film noir "Candlelight in Algeria" ends up just a routine war time thriller which doesn't truly connect with the audience enough to draw them in.
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