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When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But when in World War II-era Cairo, do as the spies do! Into that teeming viper’s nest stumbles affable American Homer Smith, a reporter who aims to get the story, get it right and, above all, get it first. Trouble is, some folks are out to get Homer first! Cairo is the movie – and the place – for songs, cloak-and-dagger fun and great movie in-jokes. Jeanette MacDonald and Robert Young (as Homer) each suspect the other of being a spy, but then join forces to uncover the real agents. Ethel Waters plays MacDonald’s savvy maid who belts out a knockout version of “Buds Won’t Bud.” And MacDonald, of course, lets her famed bright soprano ring out, while demonstrating what a fine comedienne she is. Perhaps because of war-torn times, this 1942 film was little noticed during its release. But now its cover is blown. This spy-movie spoof is a joy to discover, a “Road Movie”-like comedy where all roads lead to Cairo.

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WAA337266 Cairo DVD (1942/Jeanette Macdonald) $19.95