Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tonight's Movie: The Lady Has Plans (1942)

THE LADY HAS PLANS is a fun WWII espionage movie starring Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard. It's nothing particularly special, but the two lead actors make it worthwhile viewing.

Ken Harper (Milland) is a war correspondent in Lisbon. His new assistant, Sidney Royce (Goddard), arrives in the city, unaware that her identity has been stolen by a Nazi spy (Margaret Hayes) who has some top-secret plans drawn on her back in invisible ink.

Matters become extremely complicated as initially neither the good guys nor the bad guys are sure whether or not the real Sidney is a spy; eventually Sidney and Ken crack the case and round up the spy ring.

The plot is fairly unbelievable and far-fetched, but it leads to some amusing moments as various people try to get a gander at Goddard's back to see if she has the plans. The film is also somewhat interesting from an historical perspective, as it came out in January 1942, just after America entered the war.

Although the story is a bit preposterous, the breezy charm of Milland and Goddard makes it worthwhile. Milland makes any film better, and I particularly like Goddard's forthright self-confidence. Milland and Goddard have a good rapport in this film, and they would later be teamed by Paramount in more films, including REAP THE WILD WIND (1942), THE CRYSTAL BALL (1943), and KITTY (1945).

Roland Young and Cecil Kellaway lead the good guy contingent, with Albert Dekker among the baddies. The cast also includes Edward Norris, Charles Arnt, and Gerald Mohr. Mel Ruick can be heard as a radio announcer.

THE LADY HAS PLANS was directed by Sidney Lanfield, who later directed Goddard in the fun comedy STANDING ROOM ONLY (1944).

This film runs a quick 77 minutes. It was shot in black and white by Charles Lang. The costumes were by Edith Head.

My thanks to Carrie for making it possible for me to see this hard-to-find Paramount movie!


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