Wednesday, September 29, 2021

#2,623. The Intrigue (1916)


This 1916 spy thriller features a nifty premise, but only a so-so execution.

When the U.S. military refuses to buy his new ray gun, inventor Guy Longstreet (Cecil Van Auker) heads to Europe to sell it to the highest bidder. Realizing this weapon could change the outcome of the war, Baron Rognait (Howard Davies), ambassador of a foreign (unspecified) country, enters into negotiations with Longstreet, going so far as to accompany the inventor back to his laboratory in America.

Hoping to nix the deal, a rival government sends their most trusted spy, Countess Sonja Varnli (Lenore Ulrich), to America, where, posing as a maid, she uncovers a plot that could not only tip the balance of world power, but also cost Longstreet his life.

Notable today for its script penned by film pioneer Julia Crawford Ivers, it’s the contributions of director Frank Lloyd that make The Intrigue passably entertaining (two early sequences, depicting a wartime battle and a field hospital, are arguably the movie’s strongest).

The cast, led by Broadway veteran Ulrich, is decent though not spectacular, and even at 64 minutes the movie seems to drag at times (especially the later scenes, when things should be getting more exciting, not less).
Rating: 5 out of 10

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