A business tycoon decides to wed a Middle Eastern princess whose customs dictate the pair must live apart for several months before marrying; even more complications settle in when the tycoon's ex-fiancée is assigned to chaperone the pair.
At the start of WWII, Katie O'Hara, an American burlesque girl intent on social climbing, marries Austrian Baron Von Luber. Pat O'Toole, an American radio reporter, sees this as a chance to investigate Von Luber, who is suspected of having Nazi ties. As country after country falls to the Nazis, O'Tool follows O'Hara across Europe. At first he is after a story, but he gradually falls in love with her. When she learns that her husband is indeed a Nazi, O'Hara fakes her death and runs off with O'Toole. In Paris, she is recruited to spy for the allies; he uses a radio broadcast to make Von Luber and the Nazis look like fools.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
The question of top billing was resolved by having half of the prints with Cary Grant listed first, and the other half with Ginger Rogers listed first. The TCM print lists Grant first, but the programs distributed for the world premiere at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City listed Rogers first. See more »
The story takes place in 1938 but all of Ginger Rogers clothes and hairstyles are strictly, very 1942. See more »
I'm amazed at the bad reception that Once Upon a Honeymoon got from other reviewers here. It's not the greatest film from either the stars or the director, but far from the worst. See Satan Never Sleeps or My Son John for Leo McCarey's worst. And it's one of Walter Slezak's best roles.
Slezak plays the fictional Baron Von Luber who like the Fuehrer was Austrian born and played a big hand in the Anschluss. After that he became a Nazi ambassador of good will. But in his wake countries seem to fall to the Germans after every one of his missions. He's a rising star in the Nazi movement.
He's also married a show business American wife in the person of Ginger Rogers. That and his activities arouse the curiosity of editor Harry Shannon and commentator Cary Grant.
Once Upon a Honeymoon is very similar to that other Cary Grant film from Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious. Of course the Hitchcock film has Grant as an FBI agent who gets Ingrid Bergman to marry Claude Rains to spy on his postwar activities in a country with no extradition. Rains actually becomes an object of some audience sympathy even as a Nazi, but Slezak never does.
In fact his role is similar to that other exhibit of the master race found in that other Hitchcock film, Lifeboat. But he's gotten in a way that the gauleiter of the lifeboat never is. Cary Grant damns him with faint praise and a shrewd use of reverse psychology on the Nazi mind. Slezak's reactions to Grant's broadcast are worth seeing the film alone.
Leo McCarey makes some very serious points about the Nazis mixed in with the humor. When Grant and Rogers are caught when they think they're Jewish, it's a very harrowing predicament indeed until they are providentially rescued.
Once Upon A Honeymoon though firmly dated to World War II, holds up very well in the laugh and propaganda departments both.
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