In 1930, Maria Brentano and her younger sister
Nora flee to London after their father is murdered by a European dictator.
Seven years later, during a weekend trip to Paris, Maria unexpectedly meets
Louis, her former lover, who is now plotting the assassination of the
dictator. Maria and Nora become involved in the plan, which goes
tragically wrong when the time bomb they plant kills an innocent bystander.
This is a seriously underrated work of classical
British film art on a compelling subject and is as relevant to London life
today as it ever was. Considering this film was released in 1952, it
explores so perceptively the path from praiseworthy ideology, through
working for a noble cause, into terrifying involvement in an act of pure
You are steadily—but inexorably—drawn with a lure of truth
and justice, into a slowly evolving web of intrigue, conspiracy and
ultimately murder, and it leaves you wondering at which point do you
actually stray from idealism and decency into cold depravity? Given
the '50s context, centered on an urban minority family, the actual plot is
still frighteningly relevant and this film is surely just waiting for a
remake to bring it chillingly up to date. Until then, if you can find
a copy of this film, watch it—it's a vital and absorbing education, in the
grand old style, on the strong subject of ideology.