Saturday, July 6, 2013

I See a Dark Stranger (1946)



“For a subject of a neutral country, aren't you being a little belligerent?”
“There's nothing belligerent about it. It's entirely a question of which side” 

            I See a Dark Stranger is about an Irish girl named Bridie Quilty (Deborah Kerr). When Bridie was young she heard a man in a pub talk about fighting the British and how much the British oppressed the Irish. Since that time she has fiercely hated the British. When she turns twenty-one, Bridie leaves her small hometown for Dublin. On the train Bridie is put into a compartment with her worst nightmare a British man.
            In Dublin Bridie goes to see a Mr. Callahan who was a friend of her father’s and fight with him in the revolution in 1916. She tells Mr. Callahan she wants to join the IRA to fight the British. He tells her the times have changed. In 1921 the Irish signed a treaty with England. Ireland got some things they wanted but not all. Mr. Callahan mentions to Bridie that where she comes from the people are romantics with their storytelling.
            On the train Bridie met a man named John Miller. He goes into a bookshop in Dublin. He is an agent there to secretly meet with another. Bridie happens to go into the bookshop at the same time and looks for German books. Bridie is once again back home in her small town working her job at an inn. Miller has followed her there. Bridie is now secretly working with Miller since he also does not like the British. He makes her go out with an Irish soldier. The soldier talks about military things for three hours. When Bridie goes back to the inn she tells Miller everything. Her next assignment is to go out with the British soldier David Baynes the man she met on the train to Dublin. He needs her to take David away for the day.
            Miller wants a prisoner named Price. He helps the man escape but it does not go very well for the two enemies of the law. Price is killed and Miller is shot. Bridie returns and tells Miller that David is not an intelligence officer he is just an officer on sick leave. Miller shows her that he has been shot and needs her to pass along information Price had given him. After Miller gives Bridie the information and how to dispose of his body he dies. Bridie dumps the body and is tortured about it. The next day she leaves for her mission. David follows her and messes everything up. Bridie thought an old lady was her contact. The lad is escorted off the train by two police detectives. A man gets on the train. He follows Bridie and David when they get off the train.
            Miller’s body is eventually found. The police have a description of Bridie. Since Bridie is now in England the British police want her arrested. They know she is going to the Isle of Mann. They do not take her description seriously because it is so vague. She goes to a courthouse right across the street from the police station. She sits in a particular spot where she is to find a notebook with instructions. She realizes they are notes on the invasion and that she holds the fate of British and Irish lives in her hands. She burns the book in the fireplace in her hotel room. The police come to ask her some questions and check her identity card. Her identity card is a fake, she is under David’s last name as his wife. Out of nowhere David walks into the room and backs her up. Bridie tells David everything. Now David is conflicted because if he turns her in he is practically signing her death warrant. If he does not turn Bridie in she will be killed anyway.    Bridie tries to confess her crimes to an officer as they dance at a dinner in the hotel lobby. The officer pays no attention to her. The partner of the officer she is dancing with tells him Bridie’s identity card is a fake. The man who has been following Bridie comes and dances with her next. He asks her what has happened to Miller. The man tries to get her to tell her what was written in the notebook. Bridie and David manage to get away from the man. David still had plans on turning Bridie in until he realizes they are in British territory. He tells her to go into Northern Ireland. Bridie was just about to cross the border when they hear that D-Day has occurred. Now Bridie is off the hook for everything she has done.
            Deborah Kerr from beginning to end was perfect. She had the perfect look of determination to do what she thought was right. There were a few parts where Bridie was sitting alone in her room and her anxiety over what she knew and what she had were getting to her and we hear a voice over of what she is thinking. Kerr’s facial expressions were great and mixed with the voice overs created a fantastic amount of suspense and tension.         

            I See a Dark Stranger has a fantastic mix of drama and suspense and tension. This is a story of a young woman who put her country above everything else in her life. It echoes a lot of what America and probably every country at the time were telling their people to do; to put their country and its safety above all else. I See a Dark Stranger has an interesting story with several attention grabbing twist and turns.