This is a Grade A whodunit, with a superlative cast. The novel story line, which would do credit to an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, has the added potency of Hedy Lamarr and William Powell.
A prominent member of France’s Foreign Office, William Powell, is accused of having been a thief prior to a train accident in which he suffered a fractured skull and amnesia. Not remembering anything about his past, and since having married the beauteous Hedy Lamarr, Powell has a blackmailer arrested.
During the trial he first learns of his alleged criminal activities under another name, but at the last minute Basil Rathbone steps in as a witness and ‘proves’ that it’s a case of mistaken identity; that the criminal Powell was supposed to have been actually had died in Africa. Once freed, Powell is then harassed by Rathbone, who says that Powell was, actually, his accomplice in the murder 13 years previously of a bank messenger and the robbery of 2 million francs.
It’s good, escapist drama, without a hint of the war despite its Parisian locale, circa 1935, and evidences excellent casting and good direction. The script likewise well turned out, though better pace would have put the film in the smash class. Its only fault is a perceptible slowness at times, although the running time is a reasonable 82 minutes, caused by a plenitude of talk.