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Betrayal from the East (1945)

 -  Action | Drama  -  24 April 1945 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 136 users  
Reviews: 9 user

Before World War II, Japanese spies seek secrets of the Panama Canal.

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(novel), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Peggy Harrison
Richard Loo ...
Lt. Cmdr. Miyazaki, alias Tani
...
Agent Posing as 'Sgt. Jimmy Scott'
Abner Biberman ...
Yamato
Philip Ahn ...
Kato
Addison Richards ...
Capt. Bates
Bruce Edwards ...
Purdy - G-2 Agent
Hugh Ho Chang ...
Mr. Araki (as Hugh Hoo)
Victor Sen Yung ...
Omaya (as Sen Young)
Roland Varno ...
Kurt Guenther
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Jack Marsden
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Charlie Hildebrand (as Jason Robards)
Drew Pearson ...
News Commentator
Edit

Storyline

Just before World War II, Japan plants a network of spies and saboteurs in California. Agent Kato, seeking secrets of the Panama canal, recruits carnival barker Eddie Carter, who was there in the army. Also interested in Eddie is alluring Peggy Harrison: another secret agent?. Not as inclined to treason as Kato hoped, Eddie becomes a double agent in a deadly game against a devilish enemy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jap Spy Secrets Exposed! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Approved
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 April 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den gule fare  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

An OK b-movie aside from the heavy "yellow menace" message pushed in every scene and every character
13 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With World War II approaching, Japan's diplomatic services push a global message of peace but, behind the scenes they plot their attack on the US, using a network of spies and traitors to get information to aid their mission. In America, Japanese secret agent Kato approaches former soldier Eddie Carter to recruit him to report back the details of the Panama Canal. Eddie is down on his luck and working as an announcer in a tacky fair sideshow and he agrees to help them for a big payday. However he quickly has his doubts and finds himself in the position to do the right thing for the US and act as a double agent.

With lots of talk about "Japs" and the title sequence involving a typical "yellow menace" image of a Japanese man it is no surprise that this thriller is very much a simple propaganda film. Presented by newsman Drew Pearson, we are told the story of how "friendly" Japanese in America are really spies, not to be trusted, who use their cunning and sweet talk to win over a typically good American to make him betray his country. Unsurprisingly the drama is as simple as the characters and although it works well enough on the level of an engaging piece of propaganda it doesn't have too much to make it stick in the mind; with perhaps a late scene of steam bath torture being the one exception. It goes where you expect it to and it moves forward without the pace and tension that I would have liked but, like I said, as a simple propaganda thriller it just about does enough.

The cast match this approach by being solid but nothing more. Lee Tracy is a cookie-cutter all-American Joe who does "the right thing" and opens all our eyes to the fact that no Japanese people in America can be trusted. He is OK but I wonder does he regret his role given what happened to Japanese Americans around this period? Kelly is alright and Ahn and Biberman do their usual roles in American films from the time but generally they all turn in the type of solid performances that one would expect to find in this type of thing.

Overall this is an OK but unmemorable thriller that is heavy with propaganda and a sense of fear-driven rabble-rousing. It more or less works as a simple b-movie but it is hard to totally get into it when looking back with hindsight and modern eyes and seeing the clear racism and very broad strokes used to present clean-cut white heroes and smarmy, untrustworthy yellow devils.


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