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The Conspirators

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Title: The Conspirators  
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Subject: Max Steiner, Peter Lorre, Hedy Lamarr, 1944 in film, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Sydney Greenstreet, Jean Negulesco, Paul Henreid, Classics Illustrated, Arthur Edeson
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The Conspirators

This article is about the 1944 spy thriller film. For the 2011 historical drama film, see The Conspirator.
The Conspirators
File:Poster of the movie The Conspirators.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean Negulesco
Starring Hedy Lamarr
Paul Henreid
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Studio Warner Brothers
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date(s) October 24, 1944
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Conspirators is a 1944 World War II spy film directed by Jean Negulesco. The movie stars Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid and features Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre.


During World War II, former schoolteacher turned Dutch resistance fighter Vincent Van Der Lyn (Henreid) causes so much trouble for the Nazis, they place a bounty on his head. As a result, he is ordered to travel to England by way of neutral Lisbon.

On Van Der Lyn's arrival, Police Captain Pereira (Joseph Calleia) notes that his passport has no exit stamp on it (indicating he sneaked across the border), but reassures the traveler that all that matters is that the Portuguese visa is in order. German agent Otto Lutzke (Kurt Katch) becomes suspicious and starts following the Dutchman.

At a restaurant, Van Der Lyn is pleasantly surprised when a beautiful stranger, Irene Von Mohr (Lamarr), sits down at his table. Irene had passed a card to a man in a nearby alley, only to see him shot in the back. She fled to the restaurant; when the police arrived to question everyone, she sat down to throw off suspicion. She describes herself merely as a frequent gambler at the Casino Estoril. She leaves, supposedly to make a telephone call, but never returns. The Dutchman goes to the casino and finds Irene. As she warns him to stay away from her, they are joined by Hugo Von Mohr (Victor Francen), who is a high ranking German diplomatic official, and Lutzke. The Germans soon identify Van Der Lyn as the saboteur nicknamed the "Flying Dutchman".

Van Der Lyn meets his contact, Ricardo Quintanilla (Sydney Greenstreet), who introduces him to other members of his resistance group: Pole Jan Bernazsky (Peter Lorre), Norwegian Anton Wynat (an uncredited Gregory Gaye), and Frenchman Paulo Leiris. Quintanilla asks him to brief Jennings (an uncredited Monte Blue), Van Der Lyn's replacement. In private, Quintanilla warns the newcomer that he suspects one of their group is a traitor.

The next day, when Irene gets into her automobile, Van Der Lyn invites himself along for the ride. At first annoyed, she gradually warms to him, and they spend the day together. He professes that he is in love with her. She tells him that she married Hugo after he rescued her from Dachau.

When he returns to his hotel room, he finds Jennings slumped over a desk. Jennings is able to give him a message before dying. Acting on a tip, the police arrest him for murder. A distraught Irene tells Captain Pereira that the Dutchman was with her all that day, but declines to testify in court. When she speaks with Van Der Lyn, he accuses her of framing him.

After he escapes, Irene finds him and offers to take him to Quintanilla, revealing that she too is a resistance fighter. His suspicions are allayed after she gives him a gun. When they reach Quintanilla and the others, they charge him with being a turncoat. He manages to convince them otherwise when he gives Quintanilla Jenning's dying message, which warns that his killers have taken the "eagle", a rare coin that was to have been used to identify him, and something that Van Der Lyn had not been told. Hugo is then revealed to be part of the underground group.

Quintanilla decides to set a trap, informing the others that Jennings' replacement is in the casino hotel, knowing that the Germans will have to eliminate him in order to successfully plant their own agent. Fifteen minutes before they are to meet the new man, Quintanilla reveals his room number, 865, to the others, gathered at a roulette table along with known Nazi agents. Pereira spots Van Der Lyn, but is persuaded to wait for the real murderer to reveal himself. With time running out, Hugo places bets on 8, 6, and 5. Quintanilla and the others escort him away, but he manages to escape. He is killed in a shootout with Van Der Lyn and Pereira. Van Der Lyn finds the eagle on his body.

Van Der Lyn decides to return to Occupied Europe in Jenning's place. Irene promises to wait for him.



Production ran from late April to mid May 1944. The film's working title was Give Me This Woman.


Bosley Crowther, the critic of The New York Times, called it "a disappointing show. And, indeed, it would be quite as vexing if it came from a less able lot."[1] Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews gave it a mixed review, writing, "Veteran director Jean Negulesco lets it sag in parts with too many contrivances and a plot line that is too derivative. Nevertheless it exudes style and its fast-pace and fine cast ensures its entertainment value."[2] He concluded, "It's not Casablanca but might do if you need a quick fix in Nazi spy flicks. But be warned, the spy film pales with the stiff Henreid taking up all the screen time instead of the smooth Bogie."[2]


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • TCM Movie Database
  • AllRovi
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