In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets her uncle to cancel Bill's orders and has him reassigned to break enemy codes. In his new assignment he becomes involved with beautiful Russian spy Olivia Karloff, who is working for the Germans, and must juggle Joel's affection and his pursuit of Karloff's connections to retrieve a stolen code book. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The intricacies of decoding secret messages in 1917 is the highlight of this mixed espionage thriller.
Meddlesome Rosalind Russell is positively grating in her first star billing, continually disrupting the flow of the plot and detracting from my enjoyment of the action. What idiot would spike the coffee of the chief cryptographer with sleeping pills in the midst of his trying to decode a secret enemy message with the lives of thousands of American troops hanging in the balance? "I was just trying to get you to get some sleep," was her meek response after the damage was done. And she continually does things like that! I suppose it was meant for comedy relief, but it didn't work for me. What was enjoyable was the persistent and methodical decoding methods used before computers were invented, and the follow-up in the effort to break a German spy ring, including an exciting but improbable ending. William Powell gives his usual wonderful charismatic performance, with Binnie Barnes also excellent as the femme fatale German spy and Cesar Romero very convincing as her accomplice. All other acting was uniformly good, but why was English-accented Henry Stephenson cast as a Russian ambassador?
Based on a book by Herbert O. Yardley, who was the head of the U.S. Secret Service during WWI, the film has an air of authenticity.
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