Projections - Movie Reviews

Shineing Through

Shining Through

Passing her time watching wartime movies in New York Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) dreams of one day saving her aunt and cousins who are hiding somewhere in Berlin during 1941.  Linda is half German half Jew and speaks fluent German with a peasant dialect.

She works as a bi-lingual secretary for lawyer Ed Leland (played by a very distinguished looking Michael Douglas).  He dictates cryptic letters and leaves the office for days at a time, which leads Linda to believe he's a spy.

Linda and Ed begin a love affair, which is interrupted when America joins the war.  Leland, an agent for the O.S.S., is transferred to Washington and after a short stint in the War Department.  Linda follows him to resume her job as his secretary.  She volunteers to go to Berlin to gather information on a new "bomb with wings" that the Germans are developing.

Over Leland's protests, she's sent to Germany for two weeks to work as a domestic.  Her Berlin contact (John Gielgud) is a crusty professional with no time to train a new recruit.

Linda's a clumsy agent, she spills soup at an important Nazi dinner party, turns over tables of fish while trying to pass coded messages and acts very suspiciously.  Nonetheless, she gets a job as a nanny to a high-ranking Nazi officer (Liam Neeson) and the Americans lose track of her.

Director David Seltzer has done a wonderful job resurrecting the 40's with big band music, terrific costumes and great sets (war-torn Berlin is miraculously recreated).

Douglas has star billing, but believe me, this is Griffith's movie all the way.  She's great as Linda, gutsy enough to put herself into danger for what she believes in, but naive enough to think she can handle it by herself.  She has a child-like quality, open and inquisitive, which suits her character perfectly.

It's incredibly implausible, but who cares, because Shining Through is also an exciting, old fashioned, romantic spy thriller.

Shining Through

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