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Cairo (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 17 August 1942 (USA)
Reporter Homer Smith accidentally draws Marcia Warren into his mission to stop Nazis from bombing Allied Convoys with robot-planes.


W.S. Van Dyke (as Maj. W.S. Van Dyke II)


John McClain (screen play), Ladislas Fodor (based on an idea by)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanette MacDonald ... Marcia Warren
Robert Young ... Homer Smith
Ethel Waters ... Cleona Jones
Reginald Owen ... Philo Cobson
Grant Mitchell ... O.H.P. Boggs
Lionel Atwill ... Teutonic Gentleman
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Ahmed Ben Hassan (as Edward Ciannelli)
Mitchell Lewis ... Ludwig
Dooley Wilson ... Hector
Larry Nunn ... Bernie
Dennis Hoey ... Col. Woodhue
Mona Barrie ... Mrs. Morrison
Rhys Williams ... Strange Man
Cecil Cunningham ... Mme. Laruga
Harry Worth ... Bartender


After the Cavity Rock, California Times Leader newspaper is chosen as America's typical small town newspaper, reporter Homer Smith gets to abroad and report on the war in a series of articles to be shared with other small-town newspapers. He has a number of adventures including having his ship sink while en route to Cairo. He meets another survivor, Philo Cobson, who gives him a message to deliver to a woman in Cairo - should he survive. He delivers the message but convinces himself that an American singer-actress, Marcia Warren, is a spy. She in turn believes he's the spy. Mistaken identities abound but it all works out in the end. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


M-G-M's BIG ROMANCE WITH MUSIC! (original print media ad - mostly caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Wednesday 5 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Seattle 27 December 1956 on KING (Channel 5), by Minneapolis Saturday 19 January 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), by Chicago Thursday 14 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Philadelphia Sunday 17 February 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), by New Haven CT 24 February 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), by Altoona PA 10 March 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), and by Baltimore 25 September 1957 on WJZ (Channel 13); its San Francisco television premiere took place 9 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), but it was not telecast in New York City until 27 December 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »


Cleona Jones: [to no one in particular, as she goes to answer the phone, walking past Homer - the butler - who is sitting talking to Marcia Warren] The reason a phone rings is so that a butler knows when to answer it.
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Crazy Credits

dedication...opening card: To the authors of "spy" dramas -- those unsung heroes of the pen without whose inspiration international spies could not possibly be as clever as they are -- this picture is irreverently dedicated... See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Wakefield Cadman
Lyrics by Nelle Richmond Eberhart
Sung by Jeanette MacDonald and The King's Men in rehearsal
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User Reviews

pretty good war-time flick -- some big names
9 August 2018 | by ksf-2See all my reviews

Good director, good cast. yer typical WW II propaganda flick. Reporter Homer (Robert Young!) is feared lost at sea. When he meets up with British intelligence, he isn't sure who to trust... when he reaches land, he gives the secret password, and is off on his merry adventures. He meets women in bars, and "Marcia" (Jeannettte MacDonald) who may or may not be a spy. Her operatic arias are pretty heavy handed for a war-time suspense. This was 1942, so we were just getting deep into the war, and there's enough going on without the serious, deep heavy opera "stuff". (personal opinion!) Some fun co-stars... Grant Mitchell, Lionel Atwill, Reginal Owen. and Dooley Wilson is in here as Hector. Unfortunately, the music wants this to be a semi-comedic caper during wartime, but J MacDonald just doesn't have much chemisty with the other actors... she was so used to working with Nelson Eddy. MacDonald was actually married to Gene Raymond, and had worked with him on "Smilin Through". Homer stumbles into the heart of the bad guys, and must figure a way out! it kind of works, but it's a shame it wasn't a tighter script. or something. A couple fun medleys with MacDonald and Ethel Waters, since they were both accomplished singers. MacDonald only made a couple more films after this one. Director Woody van Dyke had been nominated for two awesome films - San Francisco and The Thin Man. Should have won for BOTH of them! and van Dyke had worked with MacDonald on San Francisco. sadly, with bad medical diagnoses, van Dyke offed himself early at age 53!

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

17 August 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cairo See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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