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Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)

Approved | | Drama, War | 6 May 1939 (USA)
FBI agent Ed Renard investigates the pre-War espionage activities of the German-American Bund.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Schneider
...
Schlager
...
Dr. Kassell
...
Attorney Kellogg
...
Hilda Kleinhauer
...
Erika Wolf
...
Mrs. Schneider
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British Military Intelligence Agent
...
Mrs. Kassell (as Celia Sibelius)
...
Werner Renz
...
Krogman (as Sig Rumann)
Lionel Royce ...
Hintze
...
Wildebrandt
...
Helldorf (as Hans von Twardowski)
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Storyline

Prior to the United States entry into World War II, Nazi spies try to steal American military secrets. Among those whose passions are roused is Kurt Schneider who was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the US Army. Schneider is not very bright and is easily swayed by the oratory of Dr. Karl Kassel, a prominent physician who is eventually made the head of the Nazi spy ring. When Schneider's contact is arrested in Scotland, the US military asks the FBI to root out the spies. Agent Edward Renard is put in charge of the case and they methodically arrest all who have been spying. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THEY don't want you to see this picture!

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Confessione di una spia nazista  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie had an initial release date of May 1939. However, the DVD issued by the Warner Archive Collection in 2014 has a narrated two-minute montage of events that occurred later in 1939 and in 1940, suggesting a re-release during the war. Beginning at 1:37:45 are the invasions of Poland, Norway, Denmark (the narration "and Finland's invasion by communist Russia" indicates that Russia has not yet joined the Allies), Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. France was included only in a headline. These last four countries were invaded on May 10, 1940. No mention was made of Nazis invading the Soviet Union in 1941. There are two9 appearances of this film in New York Times articles in June 1940: on June 2 announcing the updated re-release of the film, and on June 16 mentioning its disappointing tryout box office despite "generous publicity campaigns." See more »

Goofs

According to the film the spies are allegedly working for "German Naval Intelligence." In reality no such agency ever existed. The Abwehr was the joint intelligence service that coordinated foreign espionage for the entire German military. Before and during most of WWII the Abwehr was headed by Adm. Wilhelm Canaris. Also, Canaris and Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, detested one another and would never have cooperated as shown in the film (the producers may not have known this in 1939.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Some months ago, various persons appeared in the federal courts of New York City and the Panama Canal Zone, charged with the crime of espionage against the armed forces of the United States. Called to the witness stand, they swore to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God". The story brought out at those trials is stranger than fiction, revealing the existence of a vast spy ring operating against the naval, military, and air forces of the United...
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Soundtracks

America
(uncredited)
aka "My Country 'tis of Thee"
Melody from "God Save the King"
Traditional
Played as background music when the Statue of Liberty is shown
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User Reviews

Dated, but historically interesting
18 May 2002 | by (Ky.) – See all my reviews

I think people that will find this film interesting, are those who enjoy watching movies in a historical context. Released in 1939, it was one of the earliest movies with a distinct anti-Nazi theme. There is no subtlety here. The film's theme is that there is a vast network of Nazi spies and sympathizers at work to subvert America. The film ignores the the likelihood that there were more, and better organized communists running around, then Nazi supporters. But, the purpose was political, convince Americans that there was a eminent Nazi threat. I suspect in this, the Warner Brothers, succeeded.


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