The Conspirators


1h 41m 1944
The Conspirators

Brief Synopsis

A guerilla leader falls in love with a mysterious woman in World War II Lisbon.

Film Details

Also Known As
Give Me This Woman
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Spy
Release Date
Oct 21, 1944
Premiere Information
World premiere in Bridgeport (CT): 11 Oct 1944
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Conspirators by Frederic Prokosch (New York, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,107ft

Synopsis

After committing an act of sabotage against the Nazis, Vincent Van Der Lyn escapes from the Netherlands to neutral Portugal. At the border, Lisbon police captain Pereira questions Vincent about his activities and warns him to honor the country's neutrality. During the questioning, Lutzke, a German, notices that Vincent's passport was not stamped by the Vichy French border patrol and follows Vincent to a café. Outside the café, a man named Du Val is shot, and Irene Duchatel, who was just speaking with him, rushes inside and sits at Vincent's table to escape the police. Vincent is attracted to the beautiful Irene and buys her a drink, but a short time later, she pretends to make a phone call and slips out the back door. Determined to find her again, Vincent goes to a casino she had mentioned in passing. At first Irene denies that they have met before, then she warns Vincent not to contact her again. Later, Irene is joined by Hugo Von Mohr, an official in the German embassy, and Lutzke, and Vincent contacts Riccardo Quintanilla, the head of the resistance movement in Lisbon. Du Val's death has upset the group as he was supposed to brief Jennings, the man who is to replace Vincent in the Netherlands. Quintanilla informs Vincent that the death also means there is a traitor in the organization. Vincent offers to meet with Jennings the following evening. In the morning, Vincent meets Irene, having learned where she lives, and takes her for a drive in the country. When he tells her that he has fallen in love with her and asks her to join him in England, she explains that Hugo saved her from a concentration camp and that he is her husband. On returning to his hotel, Vincent finds a badly wounded Jennings in his room. Before Jennings dies, he manages to tell Vincent that his killer "took the eagle." Within minutes, the police arrive, having received an anonymous tip, and arrest Vincent for Jennings' murder. When Irene learns of the arrest, she tries to give Vincent an alibi, but Vincent accuses her of setting a trap for him. Later, Vincent escapes from jail and hides in the home of a fisherman sympathetic to the resistance. Quintanilla dispatches Irene to bring Vincent a gun. She explains that she is also a member of the underground, as is Hugo, and conducts him to Quintanilla. There, Vincent proves his innocence when he delivers Jennings' message about the eagle. Secretly, Vincent and Quintanilla set a trap for the traitor, who is revealed to be Hugo. When Hugo tries to escape, Vincent kills him and finds the "eagle," a coin used for identification by the resistance, in his pocket. Pereira witnesses the killing, but allows Vincent to go free. Vincent agrees to take Jennings' place and return to the Netherlands, and Irene promises to wait for his return.

Cast

Hedy Lamarr

Irene Duchatel

Paul Henreid

Vincent Van Der Lyn

Sydney Greenstreet

Riccardo Quintanilla

Peter Lorre

Jan Bernassky

Victor Francen

Hugo Von Mohr

Joseph Calleia

Captain Pereira

Carol Thurston

Rosa

Vladimir Sokoloff

Miguel

Edward Ciannelli

General Almeida

Steven Geray

Dr. Schmitt

Kurt Katch

Lutzke

Gregory Gaye

Anton Wynat

Louis Mercier

Paulo Leiris

David Hoffman

Antonio

Edward Van Sloan

Dutchman in cellar

Jean Jacques Du Bois

Bobby Benson

Doris Lloyd

Mrs. Benson

Phil Van Zandt

Gomez

John Arnold

Custom's official

William Edmunds

Souvenir vendor

Serge Krizman

Czech man

Trudy Glassford

Belgian girl

Juan Varro

Airport official

Michael Gastone

Custom official

Hal Kelly

Custom official

Rod De Medici

Immigration officer

Jack Chefe

Immigration officer

Eddie Abdo

Immigration officer

John Bleifer

Polish man

George Sorel

Police officer

Frederick Brunn

German thug

Adrian Droeshout

German thug

Roger Neury

Headwaiter

Jacques Lory

Attendant in pawnshop

Tony Paton

Detective

Oscar Loraine

Deschamps

Christine Gordon

Young woman

Marguerita Sylva

Older woman

Isabelle Lamal

French woman

Walter Bonn

German

Paul Regas

Spaniard

Veronica Pataky

Hungarian woman

Alexander Sacha

Russian

Billy Roy

Page boy

Sonya Yarr

Russian woman

Carla Boehm

German woman

Leon Belasco

Waiter

Alphonse Martel

Croupier

Frank Reicher

Casino attendant

Tony Caruso

Young fisherman

Pedro Regas

Older fisherman

Nick Thompson

Older fisherman

Ludwig Hardt

Refugee

Paul De Corday

Travel clerk

Robert Tafur

Policeman

Manuel Lopez

Man on the street

Crane Whitley

Detective outside pawnshop

Martin Garralaga

Detective outside pawnshop

Carl Neubert

Detective

Dick Botiller

Detective

Jay Novello

Detective

Monte Blue

Jennings

Neyle Marx

Portuguese boy

Ed Hyans

Hotel manager

Harro Meller

General's secretary

Fred Nurney

Young attache

Arno Frey

General's attache

Beal Wong

Japanese attache

Luis Alberni

Prison guard

Saul Gorss

Jorge

Art Miles

Cell guard

Robert Barron

Cell guard

John Mylong

Commandant

Otto Reichow

"Slugger"

George Macready

Schmitt con man

Carmel Myers

Baroness von Kluge

Rafael Storm

Senhor Gamma

Emil Rameau

Professor Wingby

Leon Lenoir

Portuguese fisherman

Erno Verebes

Portuguese fisherman

Charles Haefli

Louise Lane

Peggy Watts

Kenner Kemp

Buddy Sullivan

John Marlin

Myna Cunard

Carlos Albert

Manuel Paris

Antone Northpole

Jock Watt

Joaquin Elizondo

Michael Smith

Hans Moebus

Gordon Harrison

Nita Pike

Curt Furberg

Maurice Brierre

Paul Power

Alex Akimoff

Brooks Benedict

Alex Tamaroff

Eugene Beday

Ross Gould

John Moss

Sid D'albrook

Sayre Dearing

Gordon Dumont

Oscar Gould

Larry Arnold

Tony Carson

Clinton Carey

Nick Borgani

Eumenio Blanco

Fred Godoy

Paul Bradley

Raoul Freeman

Tom Tamarez

Paul Ravel

Jack Santoro

Harry Semels

Gertrude Keeler

Fred Fisher

Leonid Snegoff

Trevor Bardette

Film Details

Also Known As
Give Me This Woman
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Spy
Release Date
Oct 21, 1944
Premiere Information
World premiere in Bridgeport (CT): 11 Oct 1944
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Conspirators by Frederic Prokosch (New York, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,107ft

Articles

The Conspirators


At the end of Casablanca (1942), resistance leader Paul Henreid and his gorgeous wife Ingrid Bergman take off by plane for Lisbon. In The Conspirators (1944), resistance leader Paul Henreid escapes from Holland and arrives in Lisbon, where he joins other members of the underground to fight the Nazis. Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre are also on hand, but otherwise the similarities to Casablanca end there. Instead of Bergman, we have Hedy Lamarr (a ravishing screen presence but not nearly as good an actress), and instead of the magical combination of romance, humor, and first-rate dialogue, we have a noticeably weaker script and story.

Maybe it's unfair to compare any movie to Casablanca, but The Conspirators was made by Warner Bros. specifically to recreate some of the Casablanca magic (and more importantly, the Casablanca box office receipts). It's interesting to see the movie and look at why it didn't really work. It's a handsome production, with great sets, costumes and cinematography, but the characters and story just don't cast a spell. Lamarr was billed as the world's most beautiful woman when she arrived in Hollywood in 1938 from Austria, but her skill in picking roles did not match her looks; she turned down the role of Ilsa in Casablanca because "I thought that story was too complex." And so she found herself most often cast in second-tier films as an exotic woman of mystery. Her movies made money, however (including The Conspirators). She was gorgeous, and that has always been as good a reason as any for audiences to go to the movies.

Paul Henreid seemed to agree with the general assessment of Lamarr in his autobiography, writing that "The Conspirators...was my first movie with Hedy Lamarr, and my first introduction to her brand of wooden acting." He goes on about how the combination of Lamarr's lousy intuitions and Jean Negulesco's general incompetence in directing bad actors led the director to implore Henreid to secretly and subtly direct the actress for him. Henreid says he didn't want to do it but did it anyway, for the good of the picture.

Producer Hal Wallis was fired by Jack Warner early in the shoot because Warner was infuriated that Wallis got so many on-stage mentions on Oscar® night, since two movies Wallis had produced - Casablanca and Dark Victory - claimed most of the awards. With Wallis gone, all the footage that had been shot for The Conspirators was discarded, the script was changed, and some sets had to be rebuilt from scratch. The stars started making unreasonable demands, and the picture became secretly known around the lot as "The Constipators," starring "Headache Lamarr" and "Paul Hemorrhoid." Luckily, supporting players Greenstreet and Lorre remained professional and committed to the picture, and their scenes are probably the best thing about the movie. This was the fifth of eight movies the duo made together.

The movie was savaged not only by critics but even by Frederic Prokosch, the author of the novel on which the film was based, who wrote a critique of it in The New Republic. For young director Jean Negulesco, it was a tough pill to swallow, especially after his previously acclaimed film, The Mask of Dimitrios (1943). A kind, understanding letter from veteran director Edmund Goulding helped Negulesco through it. "I beg you not to take The Conspirators to heart," Goulding wrote. "I have a feeling that the little smacks in the reviews might be creeping somewhere into your insides, and I would be very sorry if they did¿ Take the advice of an old pal and sweat, from now on, on the script. Stall, delay, do anything¿ get the script right. I had an experience exactly like The Conspirators once and out of it came a nervous breakdown. Everyone has them and they hurt. And you, essentially a painter and artist, are probably hurt more than the man who entered the business via the real estate business." Negulesco was so touched by the letter that he reprinted it in his memoirs with the hope that it might "go one helping a few honest beginners who make their life a challenge to aim for perfection."

Producer: Jack Chertok, Jack L. Warner
Director: Jean Negulesco
Screenplay: Vladimir Pozner, Leo Rosten, Frederic Prokosch (novel)
Cinematography: Arthur Edeson
Film Editing: Rudi Fehr
Art Direction: Anton Grot
Music: Max Steiner
Cast: Hedy Lamarr (Irene Von Mohr), Paul Henreid (Vincent Van Der Lyn), Sydney Greenstreet (Ricardo Quintanilla), Peter Lorre (Bernazsky), Victor Francen (Hugo Von Mohr), Joseph Calleia (Capt. Pereira).
BW-102m. Closed captioning.

by Jeremy Arnold
The Conspirators

The Conspirators

At the end of Casablanca (1942), resistance leader Paul Henreid and his gorgeous wife Ingrid Bergman take off by plane for Lisbon. In The Conspirators (1944), resistance leader Paul Henreid escapes from Holland and arrives in Lisbon, where he joins other members of the underground to fight the Nazis. Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre are also on hand, but otherwise the similarities to Casablanca end there. Instead of Bergman, we have Hedy Lamarr (a ravishing screen presence but not nearly as good an actress), and instead of the magical combination of romance, humor, and first-rate dialogue, we have a noticeably weaker script and story. Maybe it's unfair to compare any movie to Casablanca, but The Conspirators was made by Warner Bros. specifically to recreate some of the Casablanca magic (and more importantly, the Casablanca box office receipts). It's interesting to see the movie and look at why it didn't really work. It's a handsome production, with great sets, costumes and cinematography, but the characters and story just don't cast a spell. Lamarr was billed as the world's most beautiful woman when she arrived in Hollywood in 1938 from Austria, but her skill in picking roles did not match her looks; she turned down the role of Ilsa in Casablanca because "I thought that story was too complex." And so she found herself most often cast in second-tier films as an exotic woman of mystery. Her movies made money, however (including The Conspirators). She was gorgeous, and that has always been as good a reason as any for audiences to go to the movies. Paul Henreid seemed to agree with the general assessment of Lamarr in his autobiography, writing that "The Conspirators...was my first movie with Hedy Lamarr, and my first introduction to her brand of wooden acting." He goes on about how the combination of Lamarr's lousy intuitions and Jean Negulesco's general incompetence in directing bad actors led the director to implore Henreid to secretly and subtly direct the actress for him. Henreid says he didn't want to do it but did it anyway, for the good of the picture. Producer Hal Wallis was fired by Jack Warner early in the shoot because Warner was infuriated that Wallis got so many on-stage mentions on Oscar® night, since two movies Wallis had produced - Casablanca and Dark Victory - claimed most of the awards. With Wallis gone, all the footage that had been shot for The Conspirators was discarded, the script was changed, and some sets had to be rebuilt from scratch. The stars started making unreasonable demands, and the picture became secretly known around the lot as "The Constipators," starring "Headache Lamarr" and "Paul Hemorrhoid." Luckily, supporting players Greenstreet and Lorre remained professional and committed to the picture, and their scenes are probably the best thing about the movie. This was the fifth of eight movies the duo made together. The movie was savaged not only by critics but even by Frederic Prokosch, the author of the novel on which the film was based, who wrote a critique of it in The New Republic. For young director Jean Negulesco, it was a tough pill to swallow, especially after his previously acclaimed film, The Mask of Dimitrios (1943). A kind, understanding letter from veteran director Edmund Goulding helped Negulesco through it. "I beg you not to take The Conspirators to heart," Goulding wrote. "I have a feeling that the little smacks in the reviews might be creeping somewhere into your insides, and I would be very sorry if they did¿ Take the advice of an old pal and sweat, from now on, on the script. Stall, delay, do anything¿ get the script right. I had an experience exactly like The Conspirators once and out of it came a nervous breakdown. Everyone has them and they hurt. And you, essentially a painter and artist, are probably hurt more than the man who entered the business via the real estate business." Negulesco was so touched by the letter that he reprinted it in his memoirs with the hope that it might "go one helping a few honest beginners who make their life a challenge to aim for perfection." Producer: Jack Chertok, Jack L. Warner Director: Jean Negulesco Screenplay: Vladimir Pozner, Leo Rosten, Frederic Prokosch (novel) Cinematography: Arthur Edeson Film Editing: Rudi Fehr Art Direction: Anton Grot Music: Max Steiner Cast: Hedy Lamarr (Irene Von Mohr), Paul Henreid (Vincent Van Der Lyn), Sydney Greenstreet (Ricardo Quintanilla), Peter Lorre (Bernazsky), Victor Francen (Hugo Von Mohr), Joseph Calleia (Capt. Pereira). BW-102m. Closed captioning. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

This may seem to you melodramatic, but indulge me, please, I like melodrama.
- Ricardo Quintanilla

Trivia

Notes

The film's working title was Give Me This Woman. Author Frederic Prokosch's first name is spelled "Fredric" in the onscreen credits. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about this production: Jack Chertok took over as producer from Hal B. Wallis when the latter ended his contract with the studio. Warner Bros. requested that David O. Selznick loan Joan Fontaine to the studio to perform in the picture. A October 14, 1943 Los Angeles Times news item reported that Frank Gruber was writing the screenplay. According to the film's press releases, Helmut Dantine, Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan were to star in the picture, which was first advertised as a Casablanca "reunion". Hedy Lamarr was borrowed from M-G-M for the film.