Candlelight in Algeria

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Candlelight in Algeria
Candellight in Algeria UKposter.jpg
Original UK quad format poster
Directed by George King
Screenplay by Katherine Strueby
Brock Williams
Story byDorothy Hope
Produced byGeorge King
John Stafford
Starring James Mason
Carla Lehmann
Raymond Lovell
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Winifred Cooper
Terence Fisher
Music by Roy Douglas
James Turner
Jack Beaver
British Aviation Pictures
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation (United Kingdom)
20th Century Fox (United States)
Release dates
  • 20 March 1944 (1944-03-20)(UK [1] )
  • 30 July 1944 (1944-07-30)(USA)
Running time
85 minutes [2]
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguagesEnglish, French, German

Candlelight in Algeria is a 1944 British war film directed by George King and starring James Mason, Carla Lehmann and Raymond Lovell. The story is loosely based on an October 1942 secret conference in Cherchell, Algeria between American general Mark W. Clark and a group of high-ranking Vichy French commanders. At the conference, the Vichy French commanders agreed to not resist the Operation Torch landings in Vichy France-controlled French North Africa that occurred one month later.



Ahead of the conference, British agent Alan Thurston has been assigned to travel to Algiers to recover a camera containing photos that reveal where the meeting will take place. Thurston is not aware of the meeting or the content of the photos, but he has orders to prevent the camera from reaching the Germans. He is shadowed by German spy Dr. Müller, who intends to steal the camera as soon as Thurston acquires it.

Susan Foster, an American sculptress living in Biskra, agrees to help Thurston. In Algiers, she steals the camera from the bedroom of nightclub singer Martiza, but instead of giving the camera to Thurston, she plans to take it to the American consulate. However, her opinion of Thurston quickly changes when he rescues her from Müller. They take cover in a kasbah with Thurston’s French friend Yvette and develop the film there. After Thurston recognises the place in the photos, they race to the meeting place to warn the Allied officers.



The film premiered at the Regal, Marble Arch in London on 18 February 1944, [1] but the reviewer for The Times was somewhat disappointed: "Candlelight in Algeria is not the film it might have been with such a theme to inspire it; it shows itself aware of the possibilities, but fails to exploit them." [3]

When the film opened at the Victoria Theater in New York City on 29 July 1944, The New York Times critic Paul P. Kennedy was somewhat more forgiving: "The British Lion production which came to the Victoria Saturday is, as a whole, well put together, and the acting, while not outstanding, is worthy of the film. Add to this the mysterious background of Algiers and a lot of international intrigue and the result is a generally entertaining picture." [4]

According to trade papers, the film was a success at the British box office in 1944. [5]

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  1. 1 2 The Times, 18 February 1944, page 6: Picture Theatres, Regal, Candlelight in Algeria Linked 2015-09-16
  2. BBFC: Candlelight in Algeria (1943): Submitted run time: 85m 26s Linked 2015-09-16
  3. The Times, 21 February 1944, page 8: New films in London - Regal. Candlelight in Algeria Linked 2015-09-16
  4. Kennedy, Paul P. (31 July 1944). "The Screen". The New York Times . p. 10.
  5. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p 207