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Open Secret (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 14 February 1948 (USA)
Newlyweds come to visit groom's friend, only to discover him missing; and their investigation uncovers evidence of a ring of anti-semites terrorizing the neighborhood.



(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Lester
Nancy Lester
Detective Sgt. Mike Frontelli
Roman Bohnen ...
Roy Locke
George Tyne ...
Harry Strauss
Larry Mitchell
Ellen Lowe ...
Mae Locke
Chuck Hill
Bert Conway ...
Charles Waldron Jr. ...
Ed Stevens
Anne O'Neal ...
Miss Tristram
Fawnes, Bigot Gang Member
Leo Kaye ...
Fatso, the bartender


Newlyweds come to visit groom's friend, only to discover him missing; and their investigation uncovers evidence of a ring of anti-semites terrorizing the neighborhood.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

anti semitism | gangster | See All (2) »


Dynamite Drama!...will smash you right between the eyes!


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 February 1948 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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King Donovan's first movie. See more »

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User Reviews

A "B+" Surprise: A Good Late 40s Flick About Intolerance

1948 saw two major studio films dealing with anti-Semitism, "Gentleman's Agreement," which garnered three Oscars, and the noir drama, "Crossfire." The former dealt with the disguised, serpentine social prejudice of the upper class while the raw bigotry that leads too often to violence was the subject of the latter movie.

Exploring the huge selection of $4.99 "B" (and worse) DVD selection at a Manhattan store today I discovered 1948's "Open Secret," a meant-to-be second feature capitalizing on, I'm sure, "Crossfire."

With only the prolific and now venerable John Ireland as a recognizable star, a very decent cast directed by John Reinhardt brought a fairly - for the times - offbeat story to the screen with good performances.

Ireland plays Paul Lester, just married to the quite pretty Nancy-Jane Randolph, a comely young actress who enjoyed a brief cinema semi-ascendancy before giving up acting for the life of a trans-Atlantic socialite. The newlyweds are invited to stay with Paul's army pal who has to run an errand, which turns out to be his last, before the couple arrives. They settle in, awaiting the buddy's return.

It quickly develops that a set of photographs taken by the now missing friend may blow the cover of a small gaggle of gross bigots who rail against the newly arrived "foreigners" in the neighborhood. Men, wives and even the little kids are inculcated with hatred for people who, we're told, should go and live with their "own kind." To make sure no one misses what the Neighborhood Hood Watch means, the "foreigners" have Jewish names and, insuring viewers get the point, they're referred to as "kikes," a word rarely then found in scripts.

Despite an intrusive and boring score that never lets up, there's real drama here as the crypto-Nazis desperately seek the photos and negatives that even these morons understand may spell their undoing. Paul and Nancy are repeatedly forced by the script to assert their tolerance for all minorities. Thankfully the repetition doesn't detract from the unfolding story as Paul gets closer to the secrets, Nancy drifts towards danger, a good detective sergeant (reminiscent of Robert Ryan in "Crossfire") tries to uproot hate and a beleaguered Jewish storekeeper has a chance to show his mettle.

Also very unusual is a portrayal of spouse abuse - wife battering - and its soul-deadening effect that was way ahead of its time.

With a fairly low budget and some pretty cheap sets, this "B" feature garners a "B+" as well as a place in the history of film for contributing to the unmasking of anti-Semitism in postwar America.


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