An old-fashioned women's picture that could pass for a television movie except for its lavish trappings, this oddly titled melodrama [from Susan Isaac's novel] turns out to be little more than a big, brassy Hallmark card with a World War II backdrop, combining shameless romance with predictable spy intrigue.

An old-fashioned women’s picture that could pass for a television movie except for its lavish trappings, this oddly titled melodrama [from Susan Isaac’s novel] turns out to be little more than a big, brassy Hallmark card with a World War II backdrop, combining shameless romance with predictable spy intrigue.

Melanie Griffith plays Linda Voss, a half-Jewish, half-Irish woman, circa 1940, who goes to work for a mysterious attorney (Michael Douglas) who turns out to be a spy for the US government. The two become lovers, and despite his reluctance, Linda, a lower-class girl hired because of her fluent German, is ultimately sent to Berlin, as a spy, infiltrating the house of a German honcho (Liam Neeson).

Along the way, she hooks up with several Germans working undercover for the US, including the code-named Sunflower (John Gielgud) and a young woman of privilege (Joely Richardson).

There’s a fair degree of tension as the spy antics draw to a close, but the flashback structure diffuses some of it because it’s the aged Linda, after all, who’s recounting the tale.

The dialog doesn’t make any effort to capture that era, and Griffith’s spunky secretary, despite appealing moments, seems more a 1990s working girl than a 1940s working-class girl.

Douglas has less to work with as the robotic soldier whose heart is turned to mush.

Shining Through

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director David Seltzer; Producer Howard Rosenman, Carol Baum; Screenplay David Seltzer; Camera Jan De Bont; Editor Craig McKay; Music Michael Kamen; Art Director Anthony Pratt

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 132 MIN.

With

Michael Douglas Melanie Griffith Liam Neeson Joely Richardson John Gielgud Francis Guinan
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