Uncertain Glory (1944)

  • The typography used for the opening credits is absolutely lovely – the pairing of that script & that serif is gorgeous.
  • Run, Errol, run! The serendipitously dropped bombs have saved you!
  • Oh, want some context? Here, I have it for you:

This is an interesting setup for a movie, though – and I don’t often say this – it all seems a bit contrived. For the first half hour, the story moves right along – but I keep saying to myself, “Okay, but why?” The grandiose plot is instantly laid out, but it’s done so tidily that it leaves little to the imagination & becomes somewhat boring, as a result.

To summarize: Errol (Flynn, obviously) is a thief named Jean Picard who accidentally murdered a policeman. He’s gonna be guillotined, but escapes thanks to the aforementioned serendipity bombs. His friend betrays his whereabouts because Errol has partially stolen this friend’s girl, so Errol gets recaptured. Meanwhile, a Frenchman bombs a bridge the Germans like, so the Germans take 100 prisoners, only to be released if “the Saboteur” gives himself up. Errol’s like, ‘I could be that guy! Because I’d definitely prefer to be firing-squaded than guillotined!’ And his captor (Inspector Bonet, played by Paul Lukas)’s like, ‘Well……okay, let’s do this.’

(Normally I don’t do plot summaries, but there’s no way I could remember how we got to this point in the movie, otherwise.)

  • Jean Picard is now Jean Emil Dupont. From Martinique. Which is in the West Indies – not “off the coast of China.” Details, Errol. Details.
  • This girl (Marianne, played by Jean Sullivan) seems like somewhat of a space cadet. It’s a shame Errol didn’t happen upon a slightly better girl first. Whatever, though.
  • Alright – the real Saboteur just arrived on the scene. So now basically everyone is lying about everything. Great.
  • Ha! Errol didn’t want the Space Cadet’s hairpin to remember her by – he wanted it to pick his handcuff lock. Ha!
  • The Space Cadet’s like, ‘Two dozen of my fellow townspeople are being held captive by the Nazis and will probably be killed – but I’m just gonna prance around while smiling and whistling, because I’m dumb and my head is filled with air and imaginary daisies.’ And Errol’s like, ‘Whatever. You’re a girl, so I’ll make out with you anyway.’
  • Space Cadet’s face, after she overhears the townspeople’s plan to implicate Errol? So confused. It’s like she just heard that the two guys are actually penguins, or something. Poor thing.
  • Errol genuinely deciding to confess his sins to the priest would certainly set up an interesting scenario…because the priest is the one who just squashed the townspeople’s “Errol is the Saboteur” plot. So if the priest knows Errol is not, in fact, an innocent traveler – maybe he gives the go-ahead to save those 100 lives?
  • (Errol wasn’t being genuine, though – so it doesn’t matter. Tsk.)
  • The Inspector temporarily letting Picard go reminds me of the Warden temporarily letting Spencer Tracy’s character go in 20,000 YEARS IN SING SING (1932).
  • I can’t believe Errol is taking the Space Cadet with him as a travel buddy. Can you say “hindrance”?
  • “I don’t know. I don’t understand these things.” …We know, Space Cadet. We know.
  • Wow – such patriotism there at the end! “He was a Frenchman,” says the Inspector, all teary eyed.
  • Mostly, I was bored by this movie. I think a lot of that had to do with its layout, plot-wise, because as I said earlier – the plot has the potential to be a super interesting & super engaging one…it just isn’t.
  • Nothing about this film is outright bad – perhaps with the exception of the casting of Marianne (a part which needed to be played by an actress with more substance, who was capable of playing some degree of emotional depth, which Jean Sullivan clearly was not) – but nothing was particularly memorable or spectacular, either. Visually, the shots were all very commonplace, as was the dialogue. No lines or visuals made me want to pause the movie to make special note of them – it was all very ordinary.
  • Errol Flynn and Paul Lukas did fine in their roles, and were engaging enough – there just wasn’t much to support them.
  • I definitely won’t be watching this again – especially because I don’t think I gained anything from watching it this first time around. If I want to watch Errol, I have loads of better movies to turn to. THE DAWN PATROL (1938), anyone?

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