Passport to Suez (1943)
[Apologies for the poor quality of the screenshot. I rented this on YouTube and they don't allow screengrabs, so I took this with my iPhone. Online images for this film are pretty rare and I really wanted to use this image because I love the hand and gun coming out of the darkness.]
This is the final appearance of Warren William as Michael Lanyard, aka. The Lone Wolf. I've now seen five of the nine films made in 5 years featuring William as the dashing gentleman crime fighter, and I'll happily watch the rest given the chance because I like William and Eric Blore as his assistant Jameson. The series started as murder mysteries and evolved into espionage capers. Short and not very clever, they go down like a TV series. Suez is the English Language debut of director André De Toth, whose Noir credits include Dark Waters, Crimewave and Pitfall. He also made a number of Noir Westerns, like Day of the Outlaw. Of all the Lone Wolf films I've seen this is easily the most stylized and shadowy, which helps because the plot doesn't make a lick of sense.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. The story is like a typical Lone Wolf plot grafted onto a sequel to Casablanca where Ilsa (played by Detour's Ann Savage) is blackmailed to return to Rick's cafe and pose as a double agent. Also Peter Lorre is still alive. There should never be a sequel to Casablanca, but this allows me to imagine what it might be like without anyone actually attempting it. Another plus is Blore, who is given more to do here than usual, even though he is repeatedly knocked out and tied up. "My legs are getting more sleep than I am,"
he remarks after being unbound in one scene. At one point he finally has to ask, "I really don't know where they get all this rope from. Is there any rationing here?"Rating: * * ˝