Dark Journey (1937)

Synopsis:

Personal opinion: “Dark Journey” is the first film I ever saw with Connie in and it is my personal favourite. To me, he and Vivien Leigh make together the perfect, ideal couple. Connie’s role as the elegant, distinguished Baron (of which he said in an interview that it was “an interesting part for him because of the double life the man leads”) is trully amazing, a pearl of the crown that glitters through the power and romanticism of “Dark Journey”. The fascination of Connie’s performance here as a leader of the German espionage and as an exponent of the aristocracy, combined with his romantic liaison with the beautiful and talented Vivien are peerless. Filmgoers of those times noted the chemistry between these two great actors, and asked them to appear in more productions together. Vivien was supposed to play the leading role in “Under the Red Robe”, “The Spy in Black” and “The Thief of Bagdad”, and Connie received the offer to appear in “Fire Over England”. Even if none of these projects reunited them, the magic of the couple Conrad Veidt-Vivien Leigh will last forever.

This is my review of the film, published on the IMDb website:

Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veidt – what an interesting and unusual pairing! In my opinion, “Dark Journey” is Vivien’s greatest pre-GWTW movie. The script is full of memorable lines, but there are also some great romantic moments between the actors. The combination between Vivien and Conrad is just like having fire and ice in love. It’s a palpable, strong, glacial romanticism. Conrad said once: “The one thing I look for everywhere is beauty. I find it everywhere, and in almost every person. A lovely painting, a good book, or music moves me. It has a life of its own.” In my favorite scene from the movie, which is the kissing scene, you could see that even after the kiss, Conrad is still holding Vivien in his arms, admiring for a few more seconds her beautiful, perfect, feminine, heart-shaped face, with those two big emerald eyes and the sweet, little lips. He is visibly enchanted by Vivien’s unique beauty, as she is telling him “Now, I want you to take me away from my friends and the business, from everyone but you”; and he tells her “That’s my dream”. This is a lovely, unforgettable scene, in which Vivien and the apparently implacable Conrad Veidt make together a wonderful couple of lovers, despite the differences between them. I would recommend to any fan of the two great actors to watch this spy and romantic film. It would be even nicer if they put back the deleted scenes. The original movie is at least 15 minutes longer than the actual version, of 75 minutes. For example, there was a scene where Karl (Veidt) is trying to seduce Madeleine (Leigh) at the first dinner party they meet. There is a famous photo from that deleted scene with Conrad and Vivien smiling at each other, and clinking two glasses of wine. And this is just one of the many deleted and important sequences from the film. But, the latest DVD version is 79 minutes in length, because it contains more sequences. I was very happy when I bought it, not only because I found some extra-sequences, but also because the quality of the picture and sound was far superior to all the versions I had previously seen. All in all, this is an extraordinary movie and it certainly is among my favorites. I give a 10 to this movie because of Vivien Leigh’s unusual beauty and talent, Conrad Veidt’s outstanding performance and great charm, because of their unique and fascinating chemistry, because of the interesting, complex and realistic plot,the very good dialogue – many lines are really remarkable, because of the lovely costumes (designed by Rene Hubert) and impressive sets (especially the one at the Grand Hotel), because of the wonderful music score, because of the unforgettable atmosphere which combines love, fashion, war and espionage. If Dark Journey were made in Hollywood, it would’ve been on the top list of classic movies. Do you need any more reasons?

One of the iconic portraits of Connie, made to promote “Dark Journey”.

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