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Stamboul Quest

1934 1h 28m Drama List
Reviews 78% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings
From within the confines of a mental institution, Annemarie (Myrna Loy) succumbs to memories of her rocky espionage career. As a German agent during World War I, Annemarie travels to Constantinople to gather information on a Turkish military official. Things go smoothly until she encounters an American medical student named Douglas (George Brent) while on her way to the Middle East. As the spy and the student fall in love, deadly consequences result. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (2) Critics Reviews
Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine Spy addicts and [Myrna] Loy admirers should enjoy Stamboul Quest. Aug 14, 2019 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews So-so hokey WWI tale about spies in love. Rated: C+ Jul 19, 2011 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (3) audience reviews
Audience Member An incredible pre-war espionage film. Surprise after surprise. A very rewarding experience. Now one of my favorites. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/12/19 Full Review Audience Member This film tickled me. Myrna Loy plays the real-life Germany spy 'Fraulein Doktor' who is in Constantinople (aka Istanbul, aka Stamboul) during WWI, trying to snoop out who in the Turkish chain of command is selling information to the British. The prelude to sending her there may remind you a bit of 007 meeting M before a mission, minus the sophisticated gadgetry, but including the description of various codes and signals. It's clear early on that this film just made it in before the Hays Code began enforcement in 1934, as Loy takes a bath and dries with a towel that's a little too small, and we learn that part of her duties as a spy involve seducing those she wants information from. There's a great scene where she helps stop a traitor in their ranks who is delivering information via a false tooth that's hollowed out, and that's how the American (George Brent) gets involved in it all. Brent is charming and has some funny banter with her, but gets a little annoying in how aggressive and possessive he becomes when the two start falling for one another. I confess I would have been happier had she remained stronger and aloof. However, with that said, I loved how intricate the plot was, and the twists and turns along the way. With deception the order of the day, it's fun to watch all involved manipulate their way through situations, and as 'out there' as the premise is, the film has an authenticity to it, and feels ahead of its time. There are several cute scenes with Loy, who shows at least a little bit of an edge as well as a playful and loving side. Is she completely believable as a spy? Probably not, but she is fully engaging and a delight to watch. Lionel Atwill and C. Henry Gordon are also strong in the roles as the German chief of spies and Turkish high commander, respectively. The film's pace is right and Director Sam Wood includes some nice touches with his cuts, streets scenes, and even a brief exotic dancer. Herman J. Mankiewicz's screenplay is smart, and holds together. I may have given the film an even higher rating, as after its strong start and 'ok' middle, it had a number of fine moments down the stretch, but I have to say, I hated the ending, which was a shame. Overall though, it's hard to fathom the negative reviews and low average rating - this one is quite enjoyable. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Enjoyable WWI tale of Myrna Loy as a German Mata Hari-like spy in Turkey. Her character was apparently based upon a real-life spy who was the one who exposed the real Mata Hari, but I'm not that familiar with Fräulein Doktor outside of looking at her Wikipedia page. The story here has Loy sent to spy on the Turks but then falls in love with an American, George Brent, which complicates her mission. This film is another pre-code production that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, particularly in terms of sex. There are scenes that include Loy undressing in a bathroom and then wearing nothing but a towel, Loy wearing a variety of revealing and form fitting outfits, and a lot more touching and caressing than you'd see later once the movie studio production code went into effect. Not a classic, but a lot of fun, particularly for fans of Loy, which I count myself among. Film debut of Leo G. Carroll. Directed by Sam Wood, co-written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and photography by the great James Wong Howe make this film a quality production that elevates a familiar story. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Stamboul Quest

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Movie Info

Synopsis From within the confines of a mental institution, Annemarie (Myrna Loy) succumbs to memories of her rocky espionage career. As a German agent during World War I, Annemarie travels to Constantinople to gather information on a Turkish military official. Things go smoothly until she encounters an American medical student named Douglas (George Brent) while on her way to the Middle East. As the spy and the student fall in love, deadly consequences result.
Director
Sam Wood
Producer
Bernard H. Hyman, Sam Wood
Screenwriter
Herman J. Mankiewicz
Production Co
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Runtime
1h 28m