Begins in documentary style when U. S. Army General Mark Clark authenticates Claire Phillips' adventures and achievements, as an American citizen who rendered invaluable services to her ...
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Begins in documentary style when U. S. Army General Mark Clark authenticates Claire Phillips' adventures and achievements, as an American citizen who rendered invaluable services to her country in Manila during the Japanese occupation, and at the end, when she is presented a medal by a Presidential representative: Claire Phillips, a café entertainer in Manila, marries a U.S. soldier on December 8, 1941, after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and when he is killed fighting the Japanese invasion of the Phillipines, she returns to her calling as a means of obtaining and transmitting to the American and Filipino guerillas information, supplies and services which the Filipino underground uses in its aid to the Allied forces fighting the Japanese invaders. She has narrow escapes from detection and detention, until she is finally exposed as a spy, arrested, convicted and imprisoned. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
A soldier plays Richard Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" as Claire and John prepare to be wedded by a Catholic priest. The Catholic Church, as well as most Lutheran churches, avoid this piece of music for wedding entrance-hymns. See more »
(from the 1850 opera "Lohengrin")
Written by Richard Wagner
[Played on harmonica by soldier at wedding in jungle] See more »
I Was An American Spy is a remarkable film for two reasons. First it's one of the few non-westerns that director Lesley Selander did in his career. Secondly I'm surprised that this story did not rate A picture treatment with a bigger name actress other than Ann Dvorak. Dvorak was on the downward slope of her career at this point.
That being said Dvorak gives a wonderful performance as the saloon entertainer Claire Phillips who married a GI stationed in the Phillipines the day after Pearl Harbor. When her husband Douglas Kennedy is killed in action she not only survives among the Japanese, but builds an extensive spy network and helps prisoners with food and gives valuable intelligence for sabotage working closely with American and Filipino guerrillas. Her main contact is Gene Evans heading up all the guerrilla activity in the islands, a role similar to what John Wayne does in Back To Bataan.
Remarkably when she was caught she was kept several months in prison and was found nearly starved to death according to the Wikipedia article on Claire Phillips. They kept her alive in the hopes she'd crack and give the Japanese information. The woman had the right stuff for sure, she never did. I doubt though her rescue was in real life quite as action filled as it is in this film.
Notice should also be taken of Richard Loo once again playing a Japanese soldier, in this case a colonel she makes a monkey out of. Loo had a career of playing cruel Japanese soldiers during World War II. Loo is given a bit more depth in this film than normally.
A nice B film that rated A picture treatment of a real American hero.
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