A radio reporter begins to suspect that a commentator at his station may be using her position to broadcast shipping information to enemy spies. With the help of the girl's sister, he sets out to expose the spy and her Nazi gang.



(screenplay), (story "The Five Fragments")


Complete credited cast:
Pam Mitchell
Sue Mitchell
Tod Andrews ...
Gordon Morrel (as Michael Ames)
Peter Whitney ...
Ernie Haskell
William Forrest ...
Martin Oster
Nils Thorson
Harry Mitchell
Olaf Hytten ...
Drake, the Butler
Inspector Bond
Koshimo Haru


A radio repoter begins to suspect that a commentator at his station may be using her position to broadcast shipping information to enemy spies. With the help of the girl's sister, he sets out to expose the spy and her Nazi gang. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | nazi | ship | saboteur | reporter | See All (42) »







Release Date:

6 June 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El buque espĂ­a  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Pam Mitchell was loosely based on real-life record-breaking aviatrix Laura Ingalls, a member of the America First Committee (called "America Above All" in the film) and a prominent isolationist speaker. Though Ingalls was never charged with espionage, she was convicted of serving as an unregistered German agent and was sentenced on February 20, 1942, just three and one-half months before "Spy Ship" was released. See more »


Remake of Fog Over Frisco (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

A Neat Little Generic B-Thriller from World War II with Craig Stevens
18 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The generically titled Spy Ship (1942) represented Warner Brothers' first film to deal with Axis spies stateside after America had entered the war. Originally entitled Caught in the Fog, Spy Ship amounted to little more than an updated remake of the Bette Davis-Donald Woods urban crime thriller Fog over Frisco (1934), based on George Dyer's 1932 mystery novel The Five Fragments. The production history of Fog over Frisco is interesting because Warner Brothers bought Dyer's novel and then changed several major plot elements. First, Dyer's novel consisted primarily of flashback sequences recounting the death of Arlene Bradford and the abduction of Arlene's half sister Valkyr 'Val' Bradford. An older man summons three people, a newspaper report, a police detective sergeant, and a Coast Guard Officer to piece together what they know about the death of Arlene and the disappearance of Val. Bringing these men together turns out to be a ploy to expose the killer who is a narcotics smuggler specializing in heroin. As it turns out the host had been hiding Val until he could get the heroin smuggler to expose himself. When Warner Brothers adapted The Five Fragments as Fog over Frisco, they had to comply with the Production Code provision that forbade both the mention and the use of narcotics. Scenarists Robert N. Lee and Eugene Solow concocted an entirely new plot, substituting illegal Wall Street bonds for the heroin. The chief villain strangles the movie heroine, Arlene Bradford (Bette Davis), when refuses to hand over incriminating letters that he had sent to her. As it turns out, before Arlene left on her date, she entrusts the cache of letters to her half-sister, Valkyr 'Val' Bradford (Margaret Lindsay). Val grows concerned when her sister does not return from her date. Eventually, Val receives what appears to be a telegram from Arlene. Meanwhile, the protagonist news reporter Tony Sterling (Donald Woods), who is head over heels in love with Val, discovers quite by accident Arlene's body, stuffed unceremoniously into the rumble seat compartment of her roadster. Tony sends in his story to the newspaper, while Val sneaks out, takes the vehicle with Arlene's dead body and goes to the location in her sister's telegram, only to find herself the captor of dangerous men. The newspaperman hero and the police track the villains down to a boat and arrest them.

Scenarist Robert E. Kent altered the characters for Warner Brothers' "B" movie remake of Fog over Frisco. The Arlene Bradford character became world renowned aviatrix Pam Mitchell (Irene Manning) who delivers speeches around the country for the isolationist group America Above All. Actually, Pam is a traitor who obtains shipping information from a boyfriend in her father's shipping insurance company. During her nationally broadcast speeches for the AAA, she encodes secret shipping information to a group of Axis spies in America, both German and Japanese, who radio the coordinates to U-boats. The U-boats sink one ship after another on its way to England. An investigative newspaper columnist, Ward Prescott (Craig Stevens), suspects that Pam is working the Axis and that the America Above All is nothing more than a front for fifth columnists. Ward shows Pam's sister Sue and his friend, insurance investigator Ernie Haskell, evidence that Pam's broadcast correspond with the dates that German subs sink cargo ships Although she accepts money from Axis spies, Pam could care less about fascism. She performs her traitorous acts strictly for the money. When her long-time boyfriend Martin Oster (William Forrest) returns from Honolulu after a two-year absence, Pam rushes into his arms. Later, during a date, Oster introduces Pam to Hiru (Keye Luke), a smug, bespectacled Japanese spy who divulges to the Germans, Pam, and Oster that the Japanese plan to launch a Sunday morning sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Hiru assures his conspirators that the Japanese will destroy the entire American fleet while it officers and seamen lie asleep in their bunks. Pam learns to her chagrin that Oster has fallen in love with another woman, and he wants Pam to return to him his love letters. Naturally, Pam refuses. Martin strangles her accidentally trying to prove to her the importance of the letters. Stuffing her body into the trunk of her car, Martin drives it back to her wealthy father's estate. At first, Sue Mitchell (Maris Wrixon) thinks that Pam has just come home for the evening. Oster quickly searches Pam's room, finds nothing, and slips away before Sue walks in on him. Pam's mysterious disappearance alarms Sue, until she receives a telegram from Pam. Actually, Oster sent the telegram in the hope that Sue knows about the letters and will deliver them if Pam tells her. Ward stumbles onto Sue's body in her car. When he goes in search of Sue to tell her about Pam's death, Sue drives off in Pam's car without the least thought that her half-sister lies in the trunk. Wade phones the police, and they bring the riot squad to join them at pier where the interned Danish ship is anchored. A brief but noisy gun battle ensues. Sue escapes and kills Martin Oster. The police give Wade and Sue a ride home and along the way, they start kissing and do not stop.

Since Warner Brothers produced their "B" movies on a tight schedule and completed them in two to four weeks, the Production Code Administration ordered told Jack Warner to: (1) minimize the consumption of alcohol, (2) hold to a brief flash the sight of Pam's corpse, (3) avoid gruesomeness in the concluding shoot-out scene and minimize the number of deaths, (4) treat with care the suicide death of a character, (5) minimize as well as mask violence administered to women, and (6) change a line of dialogue so that a newspaperman does not act unethically in failing to report a homicide. In the final cut of Spy Ship, Warner Brothers complied with virtually every objection, but numbers three and six.

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