Shining Through

Bomb Rating: 

This is one of the most heinous films ever made: a big budget,World War II film with a plot that hinges dramatically on the quality of baked goods. In an attempt to convince her boss, spy Ed Leland (Michael Douglas), that she's secret-agent material herself, Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) shows up at his doorstep one night with some dessert and utters the following line: "Ed, taste my strudel." Had Ed taken this to be a euphemism, the film might have gone somewhere interesting, but he doesn't, and the next thing you know Linda is on a plane to Germany.

Uttering lines like "What's a war for if not to hold on to the things we love?" and "I knew we parted on a Friday because the next day was Saturday" and "No, my breasts stand up like that naturally," Melanie narrates as well as acts (sic). Melanie, who has the fortunate cover of being the most un-Jewish person on the face of the earth, runs around Germany looking for her Jewish relatives while trying to find secret Nazi papers.

In an attempt to end once and for all the argument over the precise definition of "self-important crap," director David Seltzer (who hasn't been allowed to direct a film since this fiasco) includes some documentary-like sequences in which a man interviews an elderly Linda (Melanie without makeup) and asks her to recount her close brush with death. So much for the suspense factor.

The final joke of the film comes at the end, when Ed carries an unconscious Linda over a big white line signifying the border between Switzerland and Germany. Naturally, Ed is shot full of holes as he stumbles toward the border, but draws upon his last bit of strength to just barely make it. This, of course, prompts the Nazis -- ever-respectful of national boundaries -- to stop shooting and break for some strudel.

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