Published on February 12th, 2008 | by Chris0
Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)
OK, so maybe Once Upon a Honeymoon falls under the "romantic comedy" category rather than "war movie," but it is set during World War II, and in fact most of the plot has to do with the war, so here we are!
Here's the deal: Wayward radio broadcaster Pat O'Toole (Cary Grant) is following the story of an American girl, Katie O'Hara (Ginger Rogers) who is set to marry one Austrian aristocrat, Baron Von Luber (Walter Slezak.)
What Katie doesn't know, but O'Toole suspects, and is trying to prove, is that Von Luber is in fact a member of the Nazi party, and is pulling strings behind the scenes to affect the Nazi takeover of Austria, and every other place he visits.
Well, O'Toole manages to sneak his way into see Katie in the guise of a wedding dress fitter, and becomes infatuated with her on a personal level. From there he follows her and his story around, trying to get in her good graces in the process.
She finally realizes what Von Luber is, and her and O'Toole finally connect. During the bombing of Warsaw, they have the brilliant idea of having her declared dead as a casualty of the bombing. Since she's given her passport to her former maid, so said maid can escape the Jewish persecution.... her and O'Toole wind up suspected of the same offense, and worse, on the train to one of the camps.
Well, they manage to escape that situation, and O'Toole and O'Hara flee to France, and meet up with the resistance. He devises an evil plot to become a broadcaster for the Nazis, and during a speech where he is to laud the Baron, he instead makes the claim that Von Luber is out to overthrow the Fuhrer! Nearly meeting his demise, the Baron gets one more chance to prove himself to Berlin, and gets on a boat to America, to affect the same treachery there.
What he doesn't realize is that O'Toole and Katie are also on this boat, and well, lets just say that when they arrive there is one less person on the boat than when they left.
Once Upon a Honeymoon is really your typical Cary Grant comedic picture. And in that respect it really is funny in a lot of places. The Von Luber speech in particular is a laugh, as is Grant's portrayal of the "typical" (cough) male dress designer type.
Through all the comedy and romantic bits though, the seriousness and importance of the war comes through in all its terrible aspects. From the bombing of Warsaw, to a particularly dreadful and serious moment when they are herded onto the trains and realize what is actually going on. There is still that same, almost overbearing, dread that permeates.
Once Upon a Honeymoon is good for a laugh for sure. But if you dig a little deeper and pay attention to the subplots, and put the whole thing in historical context (remember this was before the US was "officially" involved in the war) it really has a lot to say about it.
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Summary: Once Upon a Honeymoon is good for a laugh for sure. But if you dig a little deeper and pay attention to the subplots, and put the whole thing in historical context (remember this was before the US was "officially" involved in the war) it really has a lot to say about it.