LA Times reviews new Otto Katz biography

November 21, 2010

Richard Schickel reviews Jonathan Miles’ The Dangerous Otto Katz: The Many Lives of a Soviet Spy for the Los Angeles Times:

He had at least 21 aliases. He insisted that he was briefly Marlene Dietrich‘s husband in 1920s Berlin, which was probably not so, though he was possibly her lover. He was definitely the model for the leading character in Lillian Hellman‘s successful play (and film) “Watch on the Rhine,” but not, I think, the inspiration for “Casablanca’s” Victor Laszlo, much as the publisher of this book might wish it so. … Katz was tireless and everywhere — advising the Left Book club in Britain, leading battlefield tours during the Spanish Civil War, supporting the party-lining film by Joris Ivens (and Ernest Hemingway) “The Spanish Earth,” making friends and raising money everywhere he went while never once questioning the vertiginous shifts in the party line.

More here.