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When a German spy realizes that he is being followed by British agents, he gives the secret information he is carrying to his girlfriend. When he is killed, she gives the information to his superiors, and herself becomes a spy, hoping to get revenge for his death. She is then sent on several dangerous and deadly missions during World War I that cause her to question whether what she is doing is right. Written by
This film of espionage before and during World War I has a bleak story, but it is pretty well crafted and is a fairly effective movie. Considering the obviously minimal budget, the characters are pretty well-developed and the war-time settings are mostly convincing.
Erich von Stroheim gets top billing in the credits, but it is really Dita Parlo who carries the show. She portrays a young woman who is recruited by von Stroheim to work as a spy for Germany during the war, with John Loder as the British master spy opposing them. The characters are well-drawn for the most part, and all are sympathetic except for von Stroheim's. The story itself is often downbeat, and brings out the inner struggles of the spies as they pursue their duty to their countries. It works most of the time because the characters are usually worth caring for. The background of the war and the strategies involved is done with minimal expense, but it holds up well enough.
"Under Secret Orders" is worth a look if you are interested in spy films or in movies about World War I.
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