The Great Impersonation (1935)

THE GREAT IMPERSONATION (1935)
Article #1398 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-11-2005
Posting Date: 6-10-2005
Directed by Alan Crosland
Featuring Edmund Lowe, Valerie Hobson, Wera Engels

In 1914, a banished Baron decides to make a fortune by becoming an undercover agent for a munitions company intent on making a big profit from the coming war. He uses his uncanny resemblance to a British lord who he has betrayed and left for dead.

Whatever faults this movie has, predictability isn’t one of them. In fact, I’m not even quite sure what this movie is. It starts out as a jungle movie, turns into a movie about political intrigue, and then rapidly flirts with any number of genres, including soap opera, old dark house movie, ghost story and gothic romance. It all leads up to a twist that I feel I should have seen coming, but since I was never quite sure what this movie was, I was never sure where it would go. Still, there are some plot holes here that will manifest themselves without even thinking too hard. The movie is enhanced by an entertaining cast of familiar faces, but Dwight Frye is wasted (and uncredited) as a madman who is more talked about than seen. This is definitely one of the stranger movies to pop up in some time.

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