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The FBI Story (1959)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, History | October 1959 (USA)
A dedicated FBI agent recalls the agency's battles against the Klan, organized crime and Communist spies.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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George Crandall
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John Gilbert 'Jack' Graham
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Jennie Hardesty
...
...
Anne Hardesty
Victor Millan ...
Mario
...
Harry Dakins
Fay Roope ...
Dwight McCutcheon
...
U.S. Marshal
Robert Gist ...
Medicine Salesman
Buzz Martin ...
Mike Hardesty
...
Casket Salesman (as Kenneth Mayer)
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Storyline

The story of the FBI unfolds through the eyes of one of its agents. During his career he investigates gangsters, swindlers, the klu klux klan, Nazi agents and cold war spies. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The fury of America's fight for decency ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Geheimagent des FBI  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in the film in which J. Edgar Hoover "personally" arrested Alvin Carpis has since been debunked as a myth created by Hoover himself. In 1936 Hoover had gone before the Senate Appropriations Commitee to get more funds to continue to build the FBI. A senator asked Hoover if he'd ever personally made an arrest. Hoover kept trying to dodge the question but was eventually forced to answer that he hadn't (he'd joined the bureau as an Assistant Director and was promoted through the bureaucracy without ever having served in the field). Embarrassed by the hearings, Hoover made it a point to follow the case of Carpis, the last of the high-profile 1930s-era bank robbers. According to Carpis himself in his autobiography "Public Enemy Number One: The Alvin Karpis Story", as he was leaving the hotel to get into his car, he was surrounded by nearly a dozen well-armed agents who forced him out of the car. As he stood there being patted down for weapons, he noticed two men peering around the corner. An agent saw what Carpis was looking at and said, "It's okay, Chief. We got 'im." Then Hoover and his assistant 'Clyde Tolson (I)' (who makes a cameo appearance in the film in the same scene as Hoover) came out and Hoover dramatically showed Carpis his badge, declaring, "Carpis, you're under arrest!" See more »

Goofs

During the war with Germany, Agent Hardesty is seen flying over Rio in a DC-6 or DC-7. Neither saw service until 1946 and 1953 respectively, after that war ended. See more »

Quotes

Sam Crandall: [Saying goodbye to John and Lucy as they leave on their honeymoon] Good luck! I hope the fish are biting.
John Michael Hardesty: [With a knowing smile] I was kinda hopin' they wouldn't be.
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Soundtracks

Ten Little Indians
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played as background music during the Indian sequence
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User Reviews

 
Disappointing Docu-drama!
10 November 2006 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The FBI Story" tries to tell the story of the evolution of the FBI over 35 years, through the eyes of a veteran agent, Chip Hardesty (James Stewart). It spins off into several segments covering Hardesty's career. There's a segment on the Klu Klux Klan (with nary an African American in sight), one showing the cheating of native Americans out of their oil leases in Texas and several brief run-ins with the well known gangsters of the 1930s.

Inrerspersed with these episodes are home life interludes where Stewart's character turns into George Bailey ("Its a Wonderful Life" (1946)). He meets and marries Lucy (Vera Miles) and we follow their lives through the birth of three children, a miscarriage, a separation and a war time tragedy.

Told in a documentary style, this film, in my opinion is far too long at 149 minutes. The action sequences, such as they are, are brief and with no character development of the gangsters. They are simply confronted by the FBI and either arrested or gunned down. The Hardesty character is hardly involved in these segments and he does not confront any of the gangsters directly.

The at home sequences while well played, look like something out of "Father Knows Best", the popular TV series of the day. Another thing I found unusual was the fact that Stewart and Miles basically carry the whole film. Other characters appear briefly then either get killed off or disappear altogether. While Stewart and Miles do their best, they hardly seem to have aged 35 years over the course of the story. And there are no name actors to speak of in the supporting cast. Murray Hamilton, Larry Pennell and Nick Adams do appear briefly, but were not that well known in 1959.

James Cagney's "G-Men" (1935) covered the FBI's early years much better.


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