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Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, War  |  25 February 1952 (Norway)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,516 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 22 critic

As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

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(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: Decision Before Dawn (1951)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Dick Rennick
...
Col. Devlin
...
Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy
...
Hilde (as Hildegarde Neff)
Dominique Blanchar ...
Monique
O.E. Hasse ...
Col. Oberst von Ecker
Wilfried Seyferth ...
Heinz Scholtz - SS Man (as Wilfried Seyfert)
Hans Christian Blech ...
Sgt. Rudolf Barth aka Tiger
Helene Thimig ...
Fräulein Paula Schneider
Robert Freitag ...
Sgt. Paul Richter (as Robert Freytag)
George Tyne ...
Sgt. Griffin
C.A. Amos ...
Himself (as C.A. Amos 1st Lt. USAF)
Harold Benedict ...
Lt. Pete Gevers
H.W. Briggs ...
Himself (as H.W. Briggs Sgt. USA)
D.G. Devine ...
Lt. Dick Rennick's driver
Edit

Storyline

WWII is entering its last phase: Germany is in ruins, but does not yield. The US army lacks crucial knowledge about the German units operating on the opposite side of the Rhine, and decides to send two German prisoners to gather information. The scheme is risky: the Gestapo retains a terribly efficient network to identify and capture spies and deserters. Moreover, it is not clear that "Tiger", who does not mind any dirty work as long as the price is right, and war-weary "Happy", who might be easily betrayed by his feelings, are dependable agents. After Tiger and another American agent are successfully infiltrated, Happy is parachuted in Bavaria. His duty: find out the whereabouts of a powerful German armored unit moving towards the western front. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A woman's kiss . . . A lighted cigarette - Each had Its meaning! An exciting and realistic story of war . . . of German Prisoners Sent Back Behind Their Own Lines as Agents of the Allies!

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 February 1952 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Legion of the Damned  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The producers and director Anatole Litvak chose to film the movie on location in postwar Germany because of its authentic background - many of the country's large cities still had areas that had been bombed into rubble and not been rebuilt yet, and there was a lot of actual WW II German military equipment - tanks, rifles, uniforms, etc. - still available. See more »

Goofs

Before Karl (AKA Happy) parachutes back into Germany, the US crewman in the aircraft says that he is glad "every time that a string of hundred pounders leave that bomb rack". The aircraft that they are in is a C47, a cargo plane, and did not have bomb racks. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Dick Rennick: Otherwise, the war hasn't changed much - crowded in the rear areas, and lonely as you got nearer and nearer the front, with nothing but a map to tell you where the enemy was supposed to be. But you soon discovered if your map was accurate enough.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in That Girl: Decision Before Dawn (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Ach, wie ist' möglich dann (Treue Liebe)
Written by Kükcken
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What memories this must have dredged up
9 December 2004 | by (Hutto, TX) – See all my reviews

Having served in the US Army-Europe in Germany it was easy to see that this work was an accurate depiction of the world as Germans saw it in those years. Going to the IMDb database confirmed that it was filmed in Wurzberg, a city I visited many times. One can not help but wonder what memories and nightmares came back to life for the German people in this movie, or the ones who viewed it, or even witnessed the movie being made. The film is so very realistic in script, acting, and setting that some must have almost thought WWII was alive again. For those that lived through WWII in that country it must have seemed as if those days were repeating themselves. Every detail of this movie is accurate as far as I could tell. It does not employ overused stereotypes, no action heroes, no earth shaking grand and glorious finale, it simply depicts a period of time in all its' tragedy and irony in a most realistic manner. This work deserves more praise and exposure than it has received. A must see for every WWII researcher and historian.


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