Candlelight in Algeria

Candlelight in Algeria

Original UK quad format poster
Directed by George King
Produced by George King
John Stafford
Screenplay by Katherine Strueby
Brock Williams
Story by Dorothy Hope
Starring James Mason
Carla Lehmann
Raymond Lovell
Music by Roy Douglas
James Turner
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Winifred Cooper
Terence Fisher
British Aviation Pictures
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation
Release dates
  • 20 March 1944 (1944-03-20) (UK [1])
Running time
85 minutes [2]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Candlelight in Algeria is a 1944 British war film directed by George King and starring James Mason, Carla Lehmann and Raymond Lovell.


The story is loosely based on the secret conference in Cherchell, Algeria, in October 1942, between American General Mark W. Clark and a group of high-ranking French Vichy commanders, where they agreed not to resist the Operation Torch landings in Vichy controlled French North Africa a month later.

Ahead of the conference, British agent Alan Thurston (James Mason) has been assigned to travel to Algiers to recover a camera containing pictures that reveals where it will take place. He doesn't know anything about the meeting or what the pictures in the camera may reveal, but has been ordered to prevent the camera from reaching the Germans. He does know, however, that he is being shadowed by German spy Dr. Müller (Walter Rilla), who intends to steal the camera as soon as Thurston gets it. So how will he be able to get the camera without Müller discovering it?

Susan Foster (Carla Lehmann), an American sculptress living in Biskra, agrees to help Thurston. In Algiers, she steals the camera from the bedroom of collaborating nightclub singer Martiza (Enid Stamp-Taylor), but instead of handing over the camera to Thurston, she plans to take it to the American consulate. However, her opinion of Thurston quickly changes when he rescues her from the clutches of Müller. The duo takes cover in a kasbah with Thurston’s French friend Yvette (Pamela Stirling), and they develop the film there. Thurston recognises the place in the photos, so they shoot their way out of the kasbah and race to the meeting place to warn the Allied officers.



The film premiered at the Regal, Marble Arch in London on 18 February 1944,[1] but the reviewer in The Times was somewhat disappointed: "Candlelight in Algeria is not the film it might have been with such a theme to inspire it; it shows itself aware of the possibilities, but fails to exploit them."[3]

When the film opened at the Victoria Theater in New York City on 29 July 1944, the New York Times critic was somewhat more forgiving: "The British Lion production which came to the Victoria Saturday is, as a whole, well put together, and the acting, while not outstanding, is worthy of the film. Add to this the mysterious background of Algiers and a lot of international intrigue and the result is a generally entertaining picture."[4]

According to trade papers, the film was a success at the British box office in 1944.[5]

External links


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