Victor Hanbury Release dateJune 1, 1944 (1944-06-01) (Premiere-London)
December 22, 1945 (1945-12-22) (U.S.) Based onEpitaph for a Spy
by Eric Ambler WriterEric Ambler (adapted from the novel "Epitaph for a Spy" by), John Davenport (adaptation) Initial releaseJune 1, 1944 (United Kingdom) DirectorsLance Comfort, Mutz Greenbaum, Victor Hanbury CastJames Mason (Peter Vadassy), Lucie Mannheim (Mme Suzanne Koch), Raymond Lovell (Robert Duclos), Julien Mitchell (Michel Beghin, intelligence chief), Herbert Lom (Andre Roux), Martin Miller (Walter Vogel) Similar moviesSalt, Dr. No, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., From Russia With Love
Lennox berkeley music from hotel reserve 1944
Hotel Reserve is a 1944 spy film starring James Mason as an innocent man caught up in pre-Second World War espionage. It was based on Eric Ambler's novel Epitaph for a Spy. Unusually, it was both directed and produced by a trio: Lance Comfort, Mutz Greenbaum (credited as Max Greene) and Victor Hanbury.
In 1938, refugee Peter Vadassy (James Mason) decides to take a vacation at the Hotel Reserve to celebrate both his completion of medical school and his impending French citizenship. When he goes to pick up some photographs at the local pharmacy, he is taken away and questioned by Michel Beghin (Julien Mitchell) of French naval intelligence. When his negatives had been developed, some of them turned out to be of French military installations. It is discovered that while the camera is the same make as Peter's, the serial number is different. Peter is released on condition that he find out which other hotel guests have cameras like his.
Peter does some snooping and eavesdrops on a suspicious conversation between Paul Heimberger (Frederick Valk) and the hotel's proprietor, Madame Suzanne Koch (Lucie Mannheim). He searches Heimberger's room and finds several passports, all with different names and nationalities. Heimberger catches him in the act, but eventually matters are straightened out. Heimberger explains that he was originally a Social Democratic newspaper publisher who was anti-Nazi and been sent to a concentration camp for two years. After he was released, he joined an underground movement against the German regime.
Peter spots his camera in the pocket of a dressing-gown belonging to Odette Roux (Patricia Medina) and Andre (Herbert Lom), a couple on their honeymoon. Andre first tries to bribe Peter into giving him the negative and, when that fails, threatens him with a pistol. The police arrive at that moment and arrest Peter for espionage.
The Rouxs leave the hotel, but find Heimberger trying to disable the hotel's car. Andre shoots him dead and the couple speed off to Toulon, unaware that they are being tracked by the police. Beghin had known the identity of the spies all along and merely used Peter to further his true goal; to find out who the Rouxs are reporting to. The spy ring is captured. Andre gets away, but is caught on a roof by Peter. Andre slips and falls to his death.
James Mason as Peter Vadassy
Lucie Mannheim as Madame Suzanne Koch
Raymond Lovell as Robert Duclos, a hotel guest given to exaggeration
Julien Mitchell as Michel Beghin
Herbert Lom as Andre Roux
Martin Miller as Walter Vogel
Clare Hamilton as Mary Skelton, a hotel guest who is attracted to Peter. A sister of Maureen O'Hara, her real name was Florrie Fitzsimons. This was her only film appearance.
Frederick Valk as Emil Schimler, alias Paul Heimberger
Patricia Medina as Odette Roux
Anthony Shaw as Major Anthony Chandon-Hartley, a guest
Laurence Hanray as Police Commissioner (as Lawrence Hanray)
David Ward as Henri Asticot, a guest
Valentine Dyall as Warren Skelton
Joseph Almas as Albert, the waiter (as Josef Almas)
Patricia Hayes as Servant (waitress)
Hella Kürty as Hilda Vogel
Ivor Barnard as P. Molon, the pharmacist
Ernst Ulman as Detective in Black Suit
The Radio Times noted, "this subdued thriller, set just before the Second World War, is lifted by James Mason's performance as a 'wronged man'," and concluded, "The plot has enough suspense and intrigue built in, but this movie only fitfully comes to life as Mason sets out discover who the real villain is"; Dennis Schwartz found it "a visually attractive film, though hampered because it's so slow moving"; whereas Leonard Maltin thought more highly of the piece, finding it a "Suspenseful, moody film."