Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)


(director/writer: Leo McCarey; screenwriters: Sheridan Gibney/from a story by Sheridan Gibney and Leo McCarey; cinematographer: George Barnes; editor: Theron Warth; music: Robert Emmett Dolan; cast: Ginger Rogers (Katie O’Hara), Cary Grant (Pat O’Toole), Walter Slezak (Baron Von Luber), Albert Dekker (Gaston Leblanc), Albert Bassermann (Marshal Borelski), Natasha Lytess (Anna), Ferike Boros (Elsa); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Leo McCarey; RKO; 1942)

“Intriguing curio tragi-comedy on wartime Nazis.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Leo McCarey(“Love Affair”/”Duck Soup”/”The Kid From Spain”) directs this intriguing curio tragi-comedy on wartime Nazis that has more seriousness than its beginning lighthearted tone indicates (at one point, the leads are mistaken for Jews and almost sent to a concentration camp). It blends together, sometimes awkwardly, as a love story, a spy drama, comedy, adventure and anti-Nazi propaganda. The mix of comedy, kitsch (swastika hands on clocks) and tragic events seem misplaced at times, and the screenplay by McCarey and Sheridan Gibney flags at times because of the nonsensical plot but rises to the occasion when it counts the most with good ole American irreverence. Stars Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers are very good together, as the smarty-pants reporter and the sly gold-digger beat the Nazis and her Nazi husband.

Brooklyn-born ex-burlesque queen Katie O’Hara (Ginger Rogers) is set in the Vienna of 1938 to marry the wealthy and influential Austrian Baron Von Luber (Walter Slezak), in secret a Nazi bigwig, for title and wealth. Fast-talking newspaperman foreign correspondent,Pat O’Toole (Cary Grant), accepts an assignment as a radio commentator to get a rare interview with the future baroness to expose the Baron as a Nazi undercover agent. Pat’s not dissuaded by her reluctance to be interviewed, and gets to meet her posing as a fitter. The reporter falls in love with Katie and desperately tries to make her see that future hubby is a Nazi honcho.

When Austria is given to Hitler by the Austrian leader, the Baron leaves by train with Katie for Czechoslovakia. Pat follows her to Prague, and witnesses Katie and the Baron getting hitched. Hubby is finally revealed to Katie as a fingerman for Hitler, and in Warsaw the Luftwaffe bombs it after the Baron sells the military defective weapons. The American lady and the reporter join forces, as she deserts her wounded hubby. The couple on-the-run trek through Norway, Holland and Belgium and at last arrive in Paris to try their hand at sabotage before returning by boat to the States.