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Background to Danger (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller, War | 3 July 1943 (USA)
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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe Barton
...
Tamara Zaleshoff
...
Colonel Robinson
...
Nikolai Zaleshoff
...
Ana Remzi
...
Hassan
...
'Mac' McNamara
Kurt Katch ...
Mailler
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Storyline

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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love in the midst of intrigue!

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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| | |

Release Date:

3 July 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Intrigues en Orient  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Joe Barton: When you flop in your country you end up in a coffin.
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Connections

Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Rosen aus dem Süden (Roses from the South), Op.388
(1880)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played on a radio
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User Reviews

 
Ambler's intrigue turned into pro-Allies propaganda with decent enough cast
14 November 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

During the Second World War years, Hollywood found in the European-intrigue novels of Eric Ambler a pliable resource for converting into thrillers that beat drums for the anti-Axis cause. So, like tanks off an assembly line, rolled Journey into Fear (1942), Background to Danger (1943) and The Mask of Dimitrios (1944). They benefitted from name directors – respectively, Orson Welles (at least in part), Raoul Walsh and Jean Negulesco – but none of them is particularly remarkable; they're not much more than shortish propaganda programmers.

Background to Danger reunites the sinister but winning Warner Bros. team of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, but, instead of the expected Humphrey Bogart as plucky hero, plunks George Raft down in a strange land, this time Turkey, strategically situated at the convergence of the Middle East, the Balkans and the Soviet Union. The plot involves forged maps which Nazi agent Greenstreet hopes to use to foment a panic about plans to invade Turkey by the U.S.S.R., then an Ally, hence destabilizing the region and the balance of power. But Walsh forgoes the depth that a geopolitical perspective might have lent in favor of bombs and handguns, captures and hair's-breadth escapes.

Raft's wooden affect sometimes paid off in the noir cycle (Noctune, Red Light) but here his gaudy patter only makes viewers wish for Bogart. And while Greenstreet reprises his polished, blustering heavy, Lorre gives a droll, airy performance that verges on the comic (clearly, unlike his Gargantuan partner, he didn't take to type-casting). Raft's love interest, playing Lorre's sister, is Brenda Marshall, a.k.a. Mrs. William Holden or Ardis Ankerson, by all accounts a difficult woman but, judging by Strange Impersonation and her few other movies, not a negligible presence. Turhan Bey shows up as Raft's native sidekick, à la From Russia With Love. He brings a final touch of authenticity to the back-lot Ankara and Istanbul, which Walsh, to his credit, takes care to make more vivid than just generically exotic.


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