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Background to Danger (1943)

 -  Drama | Thriller | War  -  3 July 1943 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 571 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

A German spy ring plans to publicize a false rumor that Russia, who is fighting Germany, plans to invade neutral Turkey in order to ally them with the Nazis.



(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: Background to Danger (1943)

Background to Danger (1943) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Joe Barton
Tamara Zaleshoff
Colonel Robinson
Nikolai Zaleshoff
Ana Remzi
Turhan Bey ...
Willard Robertson ...
'Mac' McNamara
Kurt Katch ...


Ankara in neutral Turkey : World War Two. A town of intrigue and of provocateurs. The Germans are planning to leak maps apparently proving that the Russians are about to invade the country. American Joe Barton is in the know and in the middle, along with Zaloshoff and his sister who may or may not be Russians. What is clear though is that odious Colonel Robinson is a full-blown Nazi. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nazi | spy | evil man | romanian | vodka | See more »


Love in the midst of intrigue!


Drama | Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

3 July 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Background to Danger  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film is mentioned in Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" as the second in a double feature seen by Sal and Dean in a Detroit theater (chapter 11 of part three). See more »


When the train is shown leaving Ankara Station for Istanbul (48 minutes in) you see a bit of stock footage showing a (British) Southern Railway class M7 suburban tank engine running somewhere on the South Eastern and Chatham system which runs between London and Kent. See more »


Nikolai Zaleshoff: Oh, you Americans, always in a hurry, hurry, business, business!
See more »


Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »


Rosen aus dem Süden (Roses from the South), Op.388
Written by Johann Strauß
Played on a radio
See more »

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User Reviews

Ankara, City of a Thousand Plots
19 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's now part of Hollywood lore how George Raft immeasurably aided the career of Humphrey Bogart by turning down High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. After the last one I guess Raft thought he'd go for a Casablanca type story and the film of Eric Ambler's Background to Danger seemed like a good bet. If working with Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre worked for Bogey...........

Background to Danger only confirmed Raft's wisdom about trying to stick to what he could handle. Had he been in Casablanca, the film today would be a routine action adventure picture not the cinema classic it is.

According to a biography of Raft, Peter Lorre was stealing scenes all over the place and blew cigarette smoke in Raft's face causing him to lose concentration. After repeated requests to stop doing it, Raft clocked Lorre on the chin and that settled the problems they had. On the set that is, on screen Raft registers no presence at all with his fabled co-stars.

Raft is an American agent, Greenstreet a Nazi, and Brenda Marshall and Lorre are a brother and sister team of Soviet agents all looking for a forged document about false Soviet invasion plans for Turkey. The action starts in Turkey's capital of Ankara and ends up in the city of Istanbul.

Background to Danger had to be the first American made film based in Ankara. Before the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire, Ankara barely passed for an oasis. Mustapha Kemal selected it for his capital because of its central location on the Anatolian peninsula. The city grew exponentially between the wars and Turkish neutrality in World War II kept up the growth rate though the Ankara we see here is depicted on the back lot of Warner Brothers studio.

All the neutral capitals in the World War II years were good subjects for espionage films. Everyone of them could have been described like Ankara as a city of a thousand plots. Too bad a better film couldn't have been done here.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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