Films in Review, June-July 1969, #904, pp. 379-80

Fršulein Doktor

In addition to Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle) the Germans had other female spies in World War I and one of them was known as "Fršulein Doktor."  This film has her be responsible for the sinking of "HMS Hampshire," and hence for the drowning of Lord Kitchener; responsible for the theft of a formula for poison gas from the French; and responsible for learning the disposition of Allied forces in Belgium.

It also has unnecessarily detailed footage of her shooting morphine in  her veins; unnecessarily detailed footage of lesbian sex; and elaborately detailed footage of poison gas blistering the skin off Allied soldiers and making them mutiny.  Which is to say:  Fraulein Doktor is no mere spy "entertainment" but a piece of propaganda designed, as Leftists say, "to disintegrate the West."  It's a Yugoslav-Italian co-production.

A curious aspect of this film's politics:  the Germans are the victors in each of its by no means authentic episodes.

The title part is played by Suzy Kendall in the dead-pan way that's intended to haide inadequate acting.  Capucine, of all people, plays the lesbian French scientist from whom "Fršulein Doctor" steals the poison gas formula.  Kenneth More plays a none-too-smart British counter-espionage man.  James Booth, an oily double-agent, overacts.

Alberto Lattuada not only directed this propaganda-full spy-er but also collaborated on its script (with Duilio Coletti and Stanley Mann). 

                        --Norman Cecil