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This Universal Studios production is another of the popular G-Man films that flooded the movie houses in the late 1940's and early 50's. This one has Howard Duff as the headliner in only his fifth film. The rest of the cast includes, George Brent, Paul Stewart, Anthony Caruso, Tom Tully and the beautiful, Marta Toren.
A body is found in a National Park area by Park Rangers. The only identification is a tattoo from a German concentration camp. It seems that the man had been thrown from an aircraft. Since this is not the first such stiff found, the Feds are called in.
George Brent of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is the agent in charge. They place a photo of the dead man's camp tattoo in the papers on the off chance someone knows him. The Feds luck out when they get a call from a man claiming the stiff was his cousin. He tells them that he had paid a woman at the "Blue Danube" café $2000 to have his cousin smuggled into the States. The caller though is killed before he can talk to the Feds in person.
The Feds of course do a check on the employees of the café. At the top of the list is the manager, Marta Toren. She is an east European type who had married an American Air Force pilot. The husband though had been killed just before the war ended. Toren is now an American citizen.
Not wanting to show their hand, the Feds contact cargo pilot Howard Duff. Duff just happens to have been in the same squadron as Toren's dead husband. Duff agrees to help Brent and the Feds and is sworn in. Duff is now sent to L.A. to drop in on Miss Toren. Duff is to pretend to be an out-of-work flyer. Marta is pleased to meet a friend of her husbands.
Anyways, to cut to the quick, it seems that Toren is working for a gangster, Richard Rober, whose main business is flying illegal aliens into the U.S. from Mexico. Marta had gotten mixed up with Rober trying to get her brother into the country. After the brother had been smuggled in, Rober put the grip on Marta forcing her to help. They use the café for the money payoffs from the families wanting their relatives brought in.
Rober's bunch check up on Duff because they are keeping tabs on Miss Toren. They discover he is an out of work pilot and offer him a job. He is soon making plenty of flights but only hauling legit cargo. After a few weeks, he is sent on a flight to Mexico to pick up 5 "special" cargoes. He lets his handler, Brent, know about the flight. It turns out Brent is already on the lead. They have an agent in Mexico posing as one of the said cargoes.
They pick-up the 5 refugees to smuggle back to the States. One of the gang members on the plane, Anthony Caruso, smells a rat. Just to be safe, they decide to deep six all the passengers out the door at 8,000 feet. The Feds, who are waiting at the airport, find nothing on board the plane. Duff of course can say nothing without blowing his cover.
Needless to say matters get nasty and violent for the rest of the film. The gang suspects there is an informer in the group, and Duff just barely evades getting killed. Then there is another wild ride from Mexico with Duff having to crash land the aircraft to save the day. The bad guys are all rounded up while Duff and Toren are soon an item.
Not the greatest G-Man film, but it moves along well enough with only an 84 minute runtime.
Paul Stewart is quite good here as the top villain working for Rober. It is always a hoot to see Anthony Caruso in any early bit. Look close and you will see veteran character actor Vito Scotti in an unbilled bit. Rober and Toren would both die rather young, Rober at 42 and Toren at age 30. Toren managed to work in 9 films during her time 1948-51 in Hollywood. She starred with the likes of, H. Bogart, J. Chandler, D. Powell, D. Andrews, Dan Duryea and James Mason.
The director was veteran b-film man, Frederick De Cordova. De Cordova would go on to producing. He was the man in charge of over 1,800 episodes of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson".
Four time Oscar nominated, and one time winner, William H Daniels handled the cinematography duties. Daniels was the d of p on films like, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, HARVEY, VON RYAN'S EXPRESS as well as the noir, ABANDONED, SIX BRIDGES TO CROSS, DEPORTED, WOMAN IN HIDING, THE NAKED CITY and the superb, BRUTE FORCE.
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