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Devil's Plot (1948)
"Counterblast" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  1948 (UK)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 114 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

An escaped World War 2 Nazi doctor, impersonates a murdered English doctor so he can work on a vaccination to protect the Germans in their planned germ warfare.

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Title: Devil's Plot (1948)

Devil's Plot (1948) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dr. Paul Rankin
Mervyn Johns ...
Dr. Bruckner the Beast of Ravensbruck
Nova Pilbeam ...
Tracy Hart
Margaretta Scott ...
Sister 'Johnnie' Johnson
Sybille Binder ...
Martha Lert, Bruckner Nazi Houskeeper
Marie Lohr ...
Mrs. Coles, Richard's Old Friend
Karel Stepanek ...
Prof. Inman, Nazi Psychiatrist
Alan Wheatley ...
M.W. Kennedy, Nazi Dentist
Gladys Henson ...
Mrs. Plum, Forester's Housekeeper
John Salew ...
Padre Latham
Anthony Eustrel ...
Dr. Richard Forrester
Carl Jaffe ...
Heinz
Ronald Adam ...
Col Ingram, Gillington POW Camp Commandant
Martin Miller ...
Van Hessian, Dutch Seaman
Aubrey Mallalieu ...
Maj. Walsh
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Storyline

This film was not known as "Devil's Plot" until 1953, when distributor Herbert Bregstein acquired the USA theatre rights and changed the title from "Counterblast" to "Devil's Plot." The reason for the title change was to disguise the fact that this was the same movie that had already been sold to television,and was currently playing on British and American television as "Counterblast." A more apt changed title would have been "Cheater's Plot," since the title change was an obvious ploy to keep the theatre exhibitors and public from knowing this film could be seen for free at home. The story has Mervyn Johns as a Nazi doctor and escaped prisoner-of-war who goes to London. There, via the Nazi underground, he poses as an Australian bacteriologist, whom he has killed and taken his place, assigned to do some medical research. His plot is, using British labs and knowledge, to find a method of immunizing the German people against a plague the Nazis are going to use in their next war. ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Drama

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Release Date:

1948 (UK)  »

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Devil's Plot  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Bob Crachit, the Beast of Ravensbruck!?!?
21 February 2008 | by (New England) – See all my reviews

Mervyn Johns is nothing short of stunning in a role as far from his most famous, that of the deferential Bob Crachit in the seminal adaptation of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol," SCROOGE (1951), with Alaister Sim of course as the title "beast." Speaking of beasts, Mr. Johns' lovable Crachit-like persona is nowhere to be found in this tense and gripping B-level programmer, COUNTERBLAST. Johns is an entirely convincing villain, something that might take one at first by surprise. Supporting cast are also effective, and the script, although hokey at spots, travels at a breakneck pace and leaves one constantly looking around the corner for the next disguise or subterfuge.

Johns' portrayal of Dr. Bruchner/"Dr. Forrester," is so fraught with nuance and pathos, its hard to treat him merely as a villain. He is sort of an early sketch of the soon-to-dominate cinematic creature known as the "anti-hero," a troubled and evil person who nonetheless becomes a film's unwitting protagonist by sharing with the audience his fully human weaknesses. In COUNTERBLAST, you get the sense that Bruchner has adapted his new persona not just to escape capture and commit further diabolical experiments against humanity, but to become more "human" by getting as far away as possible from his Nazi "masters."

Indeed, as the new "Dr. Forrester" attempts to enter genteel British society, you get the sense that he really wants to acclimate to the environment, and that it is only his duty to his former life which forbids it. He even foolishly, but perhaps inevitably, falls in love with his pretty assistant, as she represents everything good and pure he so desperately wants to reach. Elsewhere, it is devilish fun to see "Forrester" try to avoid all sorts of mishaps which crop up and threaten to reveal his true, diabolical identity.

Someone else on the comments board mentioned that in the hands of a Hitchcock, this might well have been a masterpiece. I agree -- although it lags in spots and relies a bit too much on hackneyed plot devices, COUNTERBLAST has so much in common with the British Hitchcock thrillers of the 1930s, it easily evokes their memory, and doesn't look too shabby in comparison.

COUNTERBLAST resides, as elsewhere, on Mill Creek's "Nightmare Worlds" box set, a collection of film obscurities no film buff should be without. The print used for COUNTERBLAST is thoroughly acceptable, from a 16mm TV print, and completely watchable. Some Philistine in another comment complained about print quality -- for less than 50 cents a movie, he expects maybe the original negative!?!? Oy!


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