CONSPIRATOR(director: Victor Saville; screenwriters: Gerald Fairlie/Sally Benson/from book by Humphrey Slater; cinematographer: Freddie Young; editor: Frank Clarke; music: John Wooldridge; cast: Robert Taylor (Maj. Michael Curragh), Elizabeth Taylor (Melinda Greyton), Robert Flemyng (Capt. Hugh Ladholme), Honor Blackman (Joyce), Thora Hird (Broaders), Marjorie Fielding (Aunt Jessica), Karel Stepanek (Radek); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.; MGM; 1949-UK)
“An utterly dreadful spy/romance tale.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An utterly dreadful spy/romance tale about Cold War intrigues. The film’s main asset is having the 16-year-old Elizabeth Taylor play the 18-year-old American new bride of a respected British major, Robert Taylor (he was 38 at the time). It was her first starring role as a grown-up.
The melodrama is set mostly in a quaint Welsh village. Elizabeth Taylor portrays the immature young American beauty Melinda Greyton, who meets the dashing Major Michael Curragh (Robert Taylor)–a handsome guards officer–at a military ball. She becomes the new bride of the highly respected major and later she shockingly learns that her loner hubby is actually a spy for the Soviet communists, who married without the party’s approval. What’s a girl to do but tell him to quit the party! He instead tries to talk her into joining him. When she resists, he tries to kill her.
Liz is pretty good here, showing she has some talent. But the script is too dull and complex, as the main characters couldn’t make the testy situation convincing. Director Victor Saville (“Kim”/”Evensong”) seemingly has more of a knack for musicals than dramas. The film was based on the book by Humphrey Slater.
REVIEWED ON 3/27/2004 GRADE: D
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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