Shining Through Review

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After spending every moment watching war movies, Linda Voss (Griffith), a half-Jewish, secretary from Queens, decides she wants to become more involved in the Second World War which, in 1940, has not yet fully touched America. As luck - and coincidence - would have it, she manages to get a job as secretary to Ed Leland (Douglas), who also just happens to be working for the secret service as a spy.

Within the space of a few minutes, Linda reveals her talent for speaking German - which Leland, despite being a spy cannot speak - and also falls for her boss, the pair enjoying a romance until he disappears off to the war again. Knowing she has Jewish relatives hiding in Berlin, Linda concludes that she should be a spy too, and when Leland returns she manages to convince him to send her to Berlin, to infiltrate a family with connections to Hitler, posing as their cook.

A few plot contrivances later and the plucky girl has managed to befriend a society woman (Richardson), get up the nose of a crusty old fellow spy (Gielgud), and spy on a top Nazi (the miscast Neeson) posing as nanny to his children. All the while, Leland flies in and out of Berlin trying to save her - quite a miracle on his part when you remember he can't sprechen sie deutsch at all.

Despite being bogged down by Griffith's voice-over, some dreadful dialogue ("I knew it was Friday the night Ed left because the next day was Saturday"), and a cliche-ridden plot, which though never boring, has enough holes to fly a squadron of B-17s through, the film works on a purely entertainment level, with Griffith and Douglas giving their all in roles tailor-made for them. Don't go expecting a documentary of war, this is simply a romantic war drama in the style of Casablanca and Yanks, but if those are to your taste, this more than fits the bill.