Shining Through (1992)



He needed to trust her with his secret. She had to trust him with her life.

Genre: Thriller,Drama,Romance,War

Shining Through (1992)
Release Date: 31 January 1992 (USA)
Country: USA , UK
Director: David Seltzer
  • Michael Douglas
  • Melanie Griffith
  • Liam Neeson
  • Joely Richardson
  • John Gielgud
  • Francis Guinan
  • Patrick Winczewski
  • Anthony Walters
  • Victoria Shalet
  • Sheila Allen
  • Stanley Beard
  • Sylvia Syms
  • Ronald Nitschke
  • Hansi Jochmann
  • Peter Flechtner

33 Responses to Shining Through (1992)

  1. superdupere
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    ok i thought she died. but then she is giving an interview of her life at an old age. uh wtf

  2. deckerrocchi
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    This is one of the very few WW2 movies released since the last major one

    Memphis Belle(1990).Assuming the public was still weary from Gulf war 1

    sice it was raging on approximately a year earlier,it didn’t do well at the box

    office,followed by A Midnight Clear in May.

    Unfotunately these good WW2 movies didn’t do well at the box office.

    WW2 had to wait another 6 years to make a comeback!With Saving Private Ryan!

  3. acheapmom
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    Griffith’s character – with her soft voice and lack of official spy training – seems improbable, but she proves she can think on her feet and thus is allowed to spy in Nazi Germany by her new boss (and romantic interest) played by Michael Douglas.

    She has an unofficial resume’ – she can quickly think on her feet and act!

    Yes, appearances and speech can be deceiving!!! Woe to the Nazis – who failed to look past the surface…of this frail appearing woman with the childish voice.

    In situations where most East Coast grads of fancy schools (Harvard OR Vassar) might fail, Griffith survives—to successfully complete her mission with the aid of Michael Douglas’s character. (Note – Except for maybe the last few minutes of film, Douglas is assisting HER!!!)

    This film – and "Working Girl" – illustrate the blue collar young woman who might be educated but who gets snubbed by both women and men because she is not from the "correct" East coast families or "correct" fashionable colleges.

  4. alrodbel
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    The film had the makings of something that could have been brilliant. It started with a look back from the future to a past existence. Only it was played straight, with all the silliness of Hollywood Ending combined with the improbability of 1940s serials, where the hero after falling off a cliff, comes back to like in the next episode.

    Some device, perhaps like the Woody Allen Film" of the movie character coming off the screen, or some surreal device that shows the clash of illusion, of the dreams of a 1940s Jewish Girl in a boring dead end job….and harsh reality, imposed upon 1990s sensibilities could have done the job.

    But it need writing brilliance, something not allocated to the budget of this dreadful joke of a film. The best/worst example is taking the children of high ranking Nazi to visit the hiding place of Jews in Berlin. What if they had still been there?

    As bad as it gets, except I can try to imagine what it could have been, and then I have the material for something interesting.

  5. ib011f9545i
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    I saw this on the big screen when it came out and loved it.

    Of course it is not historically correct,a historical film about the OSS would show them rushing to catch up with ,and learn from,the British and other already active allies but in the end doing a better job than the people they had looked up to.

    It is a great looking big budget film,the plot is silly at times but if you go along with it you will like it.

  6. OCOKA
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    What kind of razzle brain at the studios gave the go-ahead for this imbecilic film? It makes absolutely no sense, is quite senseless, terribly corny and so unforgivably cliche-ridden that it truly defies description. This movie’s biggest failing is that it tries to imitate the war-era espionage thrillers of the 40’s, thus making it a cliche wrapped with a cliche, replete with suspense-laden music to boot.

    In terms of credibility, or the lack thereof, for starters, what government on God’s green earth would send Melanie Griffith traipsing into Nazi Germany on a spy mission? Melanie cast as the baby-talking bimbo is believable. Melanie as a derring-do OSS operative conducting espionage in WW2 Germany is not.

    Second, Michael Douglas is totally miscast in period dramas. Douglas is a one-trick pony capable of portraying only one type of character: yuppie scumbag sleazeballs. That being said, Douglas intent on reprising his Gordon Gekko role in this film — albeit in an Army uniform (with all the wrong badges btw) — comes "Shining Through" while blinding us all in the process. Douglas, for that matter, is about as convincing as donkey dung and smells twice as bad in this movie.

    Gielgud and Natasha Richardson are wasted in their respective roles, although Richardson’s German is surprisingly good, while Melanie’s is decidedly retarded. No stars for this movie, thank the Gods. Let’s just pretend this one never happened, shall we?

  7. edwardholub
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    If it’s funny bad I’ll get a copy. Please let me know.

    There is no "off" position on the genius switch.

  8. karen-bruines
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    The world’s changing: from VCR to DVD… I was watching some old tapes last night, including Shining Through: how could I forget this beauty!!!

  9. akina_real
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    – The acting (everyone was excellent, including Melanie Griffith – IMHO her style was perfect for this part; I was going to mention separately Michael Douglas, Liam Neeson, Joely Richardson and Sunflower, even the fish monger and Horst – but that’s everybody!)

    – The plot – cohesive and thrilling, with ups and downs (it really kept me in suspense all the time) and with its air of a very well written story (yes, too well written, but that’s exactly what I liked – hello, it’s a movie, not a documentary!), with all the pieces coming perfectly together

    – The fast pace

    – The happy-end (I hate sad stories, so towards the end of this movie I was bracing myself for a major disappointment because I just could not fathom how Ed was going to save Linda, but as another viewer put it – I was happily stunned :)

    – The romance (though I don’t usually enjoy this movie genre) & the chemistry (Ed – Linda, Dietrich – Linda)

    – The music (it underlined the scenes perfectly!)

    – The cinematography (Jan de Bont!)

    – The costumes (Melanie’s ball gown from the opera scene was dreamy, Joely looked perfect in red for her final scene)

    – The intense moments (zebra running on the streets during the bombardment, Linda crying at the opera & Dietrich putting his hand over hers – I still can’t believe he was going to shoot her later in the evening!!!)

    – The comedic moments (dinner at Horst)

    – The plot twists

    – The whole package put together

    I was in my 20s when I saw the movie with my family (on TV), and we all loved it. It is one of the few movies that I rate 10/10 (BTW, I am a girl and my favorite movies are thrillers, SFs and clean & smart comedies). I remember liking Ed, Margrete and Dietrich characters right from the start (strong personalities all three of them); with Linda it was different: I liked her for the observational skills, movie knowledge and enthusiasm, I felt sorry for her when Ed appeared with the other woman, I was annoyed with her when she got herself in bigger and bigger troubles (the meetings with the fishmonger), and I liked her again when I saw how hard she was trying to help her family & complete her mission (and how well she did in the end :)

  10. antimatter33
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    The Germans in this movie are even dumber than in the propaganda flicks of the 40s. We can put this down to blue balls and too much Wagner I suppose. Or something in the fish and cigarettes. However Joely Richardson (cousin to Natasha) is definitely worth a second look.

    It’s a shame the Germans were actually smarter than this. The war would have lasted two weeks.


  11. chilicheeze
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    The movie was painful to watch – straight out – Melanie’s idiotic mumbling and stumbling through the movie had me on the fast forward. I came to this movie through wikipdia via: V2, V1. Operation Crossbow is much better.

  12. PenelopeLane
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    melanie Griffith is an awful actress. You can’t be the same character in Working Girl, Born yesterday and Shining Through. You just can’t.

    Ahhh what a famous mother will get you…..

    Because yesterday she didn’t and today, she does.

  13. StarCaser
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    Linda Voss’s cousins were exterminated because the people who knew where they were hiding failed to observe the need to know rule. Linda did not need to know it would have been comforting to her to know, but it was not essential.

    There was no reason in hell for Linda to blab to Margrete von Eberstein about finding her relatives, Margrete did not have a need to know. The Nazi’s probably would have found Linda’s cousins eventually, but failure to observe need to know guaranteed it.

  14. doncoon1
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    What is the name of the beautiful background song in the begining and though out the movie.

  15. smokehill retrievers
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    I see that some of the sillier errors have been caught — however, one has to wonder why Hollywood steadfastly refuses to pay any attention to detail with military plots or characters. Does their disdain, if not outright hatred, for things military really need to extend that far, to the point that they won’t blow a couple of dollars to at least hire some ex-soldier off the street as an "advisor," just to catch the more ridiculous errors?

    As has already been pointed out in the "goofs" section, the Army Blue Uniform that Ed was wearing to the dance didn’t even exist then — and wouldn’t have been worn with a Sam Browne belt even if it did. And that blue & silver combat Infantryman badge (above the rows of ribbons) didn’t exist until 1943 or ’44. And the OSS didn’t even exist at the beginning of WW2 — Donovan headed the COI, which changed to the OSS in mid-’42.

    As near as I can tell, whoever dreamed up Ed’s uniform & decorations just reached into a box and pulled out some ribbons that looked good together; they have zero basis in reality. The first one (top left) is either a Meritorious service Medal (created in 1969!) or the Legion of Merit (created in ’44 or ’45).

    The green & white one is clearly the Army Commendation Medal, created just AFTER WW2. I didn’t get a good enough look to see if Ed was actually wearing ANYTHING that was kosher for 1941, if just by accident.

    The Purple Heart he’s wearing (just as WW2 starts) is for combat wounds … and he looks far too young to have gotten multiple wounds in World War One.

    After that, I just tried not to focus on any detail, but I’m sure there were more. The round red, white & blue shoulder patch (Army Ground Forces, later CONARC) that Ed & some others were wearing seems dead wrong, too … but that group technically existed in March of ’42 and I suppose some OSS guys MIGHT have worn those patches just to fuzzy up their actual assignment. Considering the sloppiness in the rest of the military detail, though, I suspect it was just another screwup by some guys just too lazy to check anything.

    This stuff probably should be in the Goofs section, too, but I find the process for sticking that in to be way too burdensome and confusing.

    Others have criticized the basic plot — OSS using a non-German-speaking officer behind the lines, or a completely untrained secretary. Well, they have a point, but I spent my adult life in intelligence — was trained by old OSS veterans in the 1960s and am an amateur historian of that period. The OSS flew by the seat of its pants and often cut corners and took chances if an opportunity arose & it seemed worth the risk. Granted, this wasn’t the ideal operation by any means, but floating an agent or two in imperfect circumstances was done plenty of times — which is why the death rate among OSS people was so high.

    All this aside, I actually enjoyed the movie.

  16. bauhausblack
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    How did Douglas’ character come to be involved with Richardson’s character and trust her enough to involve her with Griffith’s character in the plot?

    SPOILER: She obviously turns on them, but I was wondering how they might have become involved in the first place?

  17. theviloness
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    I don’t know if it’s me, but almost every movie that has Melanie Griffith in it, it disappoints me. Bad acting and then that voice of her: BRRRR! I think that if Griffith didn’t play in this picture that it was a good one to watch.

  18. Jdylan-1
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    I thought the movie wasn’t all that great, and Griffith is a terrible actress, but it was cool seeing East Germany right after the wall came down. Filming locations were Potsdam and Leipzig, all the buildings were original for the most part, as the ossies didn’t build or remodel much after the wall went up.


    "I’m verklempt, talk amongst yourselves…"

  19. Anonymous
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  20. NotInTexas
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    And I’m not afraid to say it. The whole movie was great, it’s been my faveroite movie for years now. It should have won an Oscar.

  21. Anonymous
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  22. martinwillane
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    The scenes were so unbelievable. It makes Harry Potter look plausable.

    Mellanie Griffith getting on a plane from USA to Switzerland during world war 2. You could not get on a plane from NY to Europe during that era not even neutral Switzerland. It was surounded by Nazi territory.

    Mellanie Griffith being seriously injured in Berlin then getting on a train to Switzerland. A journey that takes nearly a day in those days. Without medical attention and surviving.

    A swiss border guard shooting an SS border guard to save Micheal Douglas and Mellanie. Under no circumstances would a swiss border guard shoot a Third Reich border guard. It would be more than their neutrality is worth. He would not dare.

  23. evangelinexkelly
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    I watched the movie first and then read the book since so many people said the book was better than the movie. But after finishing the book I was on the fence. While John B was taken out of the movie, I didn’t really see a need for him in the book–he was just a catalyst for Linda to get to Washington and then to spy. In fact, I found the entire relationship just icky and weird, since Linda opened the book revealing that she was in love with him, but their relationship was really just about sex. After snagging John in the sack, there was no talk or action of "love" from Linda, just lust, and the author never explained anything. For all the nagging that the movie was inept and impossible, what with Linda being able to waltz into Nazi Germany and Edward running around Europe not speaking a lick of another language outside of English, the book was exactly the same. Combine this with both movie and book versions of the traitorous Margrete of whom I never understood why the CIA/OSS so complicitly trusted someone so high up in the Nazi Regime (???!!!), and both book and movie were a pile of hot steaming mess. I was left waiting for the so-called Cinderella/Ugly Duckling plot all the sparkling reviews praised, but all I saw were cardboard-flat characterizations and ickiest ending in the world (wtf? how was Linda not only in love with her husband’s ex-father-in-law, but in love with a man who knew her husband was cheating with his ex-wife, Edward’s daughter?) UGH. The image of the plot is nice: shy secretary in love with her boss who turns out to be a master spy, but the actual execution left much to be desired.

  24. bittermilk
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    At least that s what I think. I wonder if there are other people here who have read the book too.

  25. mfan0825
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    I read in a movie book it did. If it does, can you tell me which movies are referenced.

  26. Anonymous
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  27. stephie_what
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    I was just reading over the review on the movie page and they said they saw it when they were 21, and I was just wondering when everyone else saw it.

    I’m pretty sure I was 6 or 7 when I first saw it. Seems pretty young now…


    VP for LSFC and LBFC

    Head Defending Priestess of LHFC

    Prez of TOBAOF

    Head Angel of GBEG

  28. Anonymous
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  29. Swill_Merchant
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  30. curitibanametida
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    …for the first time in six months after their passionate affair, and he has come strolling in with a stunning brunette] You can come work for me while I’m here, I can always use a good secretary.

    Linda Voss: This is all so civilized, Edward. That’s what you like, isn’t it? Civilized people, polite ladies with pedigrees who look good at the opera, and never make you laugh too hard, and never make you feel too much. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and don’t tell me it’s the war, when I’ve been waiting for six months to hear whether you’re dead or alive and you waltz into a nightclub.

    Ed Leland: Linda, I came in last night and I was going to call you.

    Linda Voss: Oh, go to hell.

    [He grabs her arm]

    Linda Voss: Careful, Ed. You might have to admit you know me.

    Ed Leland: Linda, it is the war.

    Linda Voss: You’re so noble, Ed.

    Ed Leland: Did I promise you something? If I did, I’d like to know.

    2nd G.I. in Canteen: Excuse me sir, I thought the young lady might like to dance.

    What was the song when they were having this conversation and dancing?

  31. Anonymous
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  32. steven-210
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    ok, its only a movie. but griffith is such a dumb woman in this movie. how could she have ever survived for 1 day in germany. with the gestapo and all the suspicious citizens. either its just not realistic or the part of lina voss ist just plain crap.

  33. Tolsdorff
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    Does anyone know what make and model pistol is used by one of the officers, when they search the bedroom looking for Lina (Melanie Griffith)? It doesn’t look like a Luger, Walther P-38 or PPK. I thought it might be a variation of a Borchardt, Bregmann or Mauser Broomhandle, something with a extended box magazine perhaps,

    I don’t have the DVD to freeze frame.

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