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A security leak is found at a Southern California atomic plant. The authorities stand in fear that the information leaked would go to a hostile nation. To investigate the case more efficiently, Dan O'Hara, an FBI agent, and Philip Grayson, a Scotland Yard sleuth, join forces. Will they manage to stop the spy ring from achieving their aim? Written by
Walk A Crooked Mile finds Louis Hayward as a Scotland Yard man and Dennis O'Keefe as an FBI agent finding themselves on the same case in their respective countries. Finding it convenient and necessary they join forces to track down Communist spies looking to steal data on an unnamed atomic project in southern California.
Columbia Pictures was imitating the documentary style drama so popularized at 20th Century Fox by Henry Hathaway with such films as The House On 92nd Street, The Street With No Name, and Call Northside 777. Certainly Hayward and O'Keefe are a stalwart pair of agents defending their respective country's interests in the Cold War.
This whole thing begins with a murder of an FBI man who was right in the middle of calling O'Keefe with some hot news about a suspected Communist he was trailing. O'Keefe is the head of security at a defense plant where atomic research is being done. It doesn't take a man versed in rocket science to know something big is afoot. Along the way Hayward comes into the case and the two of them track down the espionage that's been going on.
Onslow Stevens as the brains and Raymond Burr as the muscle in the Communist cell are a fine pair of heavies. Atomic scientists suspected of the treason include Carl Esmond, Louise Allbritton, Art Baker, Lowell Gilmore and Charles Evans. One of them's a dirty red.
When Burr gets the drop on Hayward and O'Keefe temporarily, they get some help from landlady Tamara Shayne. It's a good small role and she steals the film from all the rest.
Cooperation on espionage cases is nothing new. We're seeing it now in the War on Terror. The Rosenberg case was started because of the original apprehension of Klaus Fuchs by British Intelligence who traced the activity to America. The Igor Gouzenko espionage case was solved by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada.
By the way, one wonders if the unnamed atomic project they were all concerned about was the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear fusion was just starting to get out of the theoretical stage at this time.
Walk A Crooked Mile is not a bad spy film. Another cinema tribute to the FBI in peace and war.
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