Documentary-style prologue follows training of O.S.S. agents for WWII work behind enemy lines. One of the group is a German "mole;" leaders Gibson and Sharkey are aware of this and scheme to feed him false info about the invasion of Europe, while the real agents go to France to find a secret V-2 rocket depot. But the German spy outsmarts them and rejoins his people knowing too much; Bob Sharkey takes the risk of going in after him. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Due to military intelligence and secrecy reasons, American Hollywood Studios were prevented by the US Government from mentioning the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services) in movies during World War II. Alas, the OSS is not mentioned in this movie. See more »
In this film, a French engineer called Duclois is a Nazi collaborator on the V2 rocket programme, and is described as being responsible for the design and construction of the 'main assembly and supply depot' in northern France, whom '077' Agent Sharkey must kidnap for urgent interrogation, so that intelligence concerning this dangerous long-range super-weapon can save the imminent Allied invasion of Europe. There were indeed major V2 launch bunkers in the 'Pas de Calais' and elsewhere in northern France, and they were certainly rendered inoperable by Allied military actions which were based upon good intelligence (hence the Germans' development thereafter of highly manoeuvrable truck-mounted launchers). Nevertheless, most of the film's military scenario for the V2 programme is really no more than a convenient dramatic fiction: There was actually no such person as the character 'Duclois.' It was Albert Speer, architect, and at this period also Hitler's Minister for Armaments and War Production, who took up a Colonel Dornberger's ideas for a massive hardened 'Blockhaus' launch site; also, a certain Gerhard Degenkolb was brought in later to help in organizing the mass-production of the rockets (Degenkolb was the former director of the 'Demag Engineering Works' and the man responsible for streamlining production in Germany's locomotive industry). The V2 rocket itself was of course actually developed by Wernher Von Braun and his own team. However, at the time of the film's production Von Braun had begun working for the US military, along with many other Nazi scientists - all having been spirited back to the United States, from under the noses of the Soviets, by the top-secret 'Operation Paperclip' - in order to develop ICBMs for the US, and it would have been political dynamite to have acknowledged this publicly at a time when incipient Cold War tensions were already being felt. See more »
Prologue, shown printed in a book: No single story could ever pay full tribute to the accomplishments of the U.S. Army Intelligence in World War II. Working secretly behind enemy lines, in close cooperation with our Allies, its brilliant work was an acknowledged factor in the final victory. The page turns to reveal: In order to obtain the maximum of realism and authenticity, all the exterior and interior settings in this Motion Picture were photographed in the field - - and, whenever possible, at the actual locations. See more »
Although Jimmy Cagney is the star of this film, he really takes a back seat during most of the picture. Instead, the story focuses on a team of OSS operatives as they are trained and then deposited behind enemy lines (FYI--the OSS was the precursor for the CIA). I especially liked watching how they were trained to blend in--such as learning to eat European-style (with the fork ALWAYS in the left hand). Cagney is ever-present during this training process and only comes to the forefront again when the mission appears to start unraveling and he goes in to rescue the team members. In between, the film centers on the team members and their efforts to destroy the nazi menace in France.
Biggest pluses--excellent writing, pacing and acting (in that order).
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