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Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 25 February 1952 (Norway)
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As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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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:
...
...
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 ...
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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:

Not Rated | 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

December 8th, 1944: the date on which Karl Maurer (Werner) is captured in the film, was in real life the actual date on which Oskar Werner deserted from the Wehrmacht. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, Lt. Rennick and his driver, Sgt. Griffin, are driving in an open jeep to Rennick's new headquarters at the convent. It is clearly winter with snow on the ground and leafless trees. Yet, when they drive up to their headquarters gate, it now looks like early summer, with trees with full leaves and no snow on the ground. Then, it's back to winter again with heavy snow when Happy parachutes back into Germany. See more »

Quotes

Col. Devlin: A kid like Happy, even if he came through it alive, a traitor's always a traitor, no matter what his reasons are.
Lt. Dick Rennick: We didn't hesitate about using him.
Col. Devlin: In a war, to save lives, you use whoever you can. Trouble is, you always lose the best ones 'cause the best ones are willing to take a chance.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hilde (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Ach, wie ist' möglich dann (Treue Liebe)
Written by Kükcken
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User Reviews

Harrowing experience
31 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For anyone who is used to freedom, this movie shows better than any other what it is like to live in a total police state. The Thousand-Year Reich is shown with every wart and blemish, making this one of the greatest propaganda movies for freedom. But it is a harrowing experience, a true thriller. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this film is not better known and why it is hardly available in public libraries. Could this reflect the conservative, McCarthyite influence on movies? I think it is a must-see.


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