A Lilli in Africa
With Rommel and his army advancing across Africa the Allies find themselves being pushed back with anyone having been reported as helping them coming to the attention of the advancing Germans. That is what happens in the town of Benghazi where the Germans question an elderly cafe owner and his wife over the allies and who are shocked to find them paying host to Lilli Marlene (Lisa Daniely) the young muse who inspired the popular song amongst German soldiers. Thinking they have scored a coup by finding the famous Lilli they find themselves having to put pressure on her to sing to the troops as having been born in France she sees the Germans as her enemy. When the Allies including American Steve (Hugh McDermott) learn that a German propaganda officer is in Benghazi they plan a mission to go in and capture him leading to Steve meeting Lilli. But after the allies retake Benghazi the danger is not over with the Germans once again looking not only to advance but get their Lilli Marlene.
I could sum up the movie "Lilli Marlene" by saying it is a so so war movie from 1950 which whilst giving us this to and thro battle between the Germans and the allies also gives us a love story as Steve and Lilli fall for each other which of course is not plain sailing when war is going on. But whilst that condenses it down to a sentence it doesn't really say much about the movie.
Now in truth there is not a great deal to "Lilli Marlene"; we have some text book Germans who like to order people about, we have the plucky allies who sneak into Benghazi to kidnap a propaganda officer and not a great deal more. In fact what it lacks is more memorable than what it has with some completely forgettable acting from those in supporting roles.
Now I may be being a bit harsh as "Lilli Marlene" isn't a big production despite having some recognizable faces such as Stanley Baker and Leslie Dwyer in the cast. In truth the most memorable thing about "Lilli Marlene" is the attractive Lisa Daniely who brings a touch of the young Maureen O'Hara to her performance as she instils a level of feistiness to her character whilst looking stunning. Plus there are some nice, familiar songs which are a pleasant distraction to all the routine war drama and stereotypical characters.
What this all boils down to is "Lilli Marlene" is now one of those forgettable war movies from the 1950s which if it wasn't for the attractive Lisa Daniely would be pretty pointless.