1940. Sixteen year old Phillip is one of a number of amateur radio operators across the US, doing it purely as a fun hobby. He is informed by Bill Beck of the Radio and Intelligence ... See full summary »
1940. Sixteen year old Phillip is one of a number of amateur radio operators across the US, doing it purely as a fun hobby. He is informed by Bill Beck of the Radio and Intelligence Division (RID) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that amateur international radio communication is now banned due to spying a result of the war in Europe. Beck, on behalf of the RID, asks Phillip, however, to continue to monitor the airwaves for suspicious activity. This request is similar to several others made to "Phillip"s across the country by the RID, this group of Phillips the invisible army of unofficial watchers in the name of national security. Their role becomes more important as the US enters the war. The important work of the RID is presented in one case, where they have to locate the source of an enemy radio transmission based on information received from several monitoring stations across the country. The field agents, like Beck, have to do the still dangerous ground work to ... Written by
FCC has a video of this film and with the studio's permission uses it for training - hence I saw it. It was part of a series of WWII propaganda films on how obscure agencies were contributing to the war effort. There is some truth to the wartime role of the FCC in listening for axis spies who used radio and having armed agents look for them. This mission left FCC after the war. The details of the film are highly fictionalized and the acting reminds one of Reefer Madness.
J. Edgar Hoover was reportedly annoyed about the film saying it gave the FCC too much credit.
If you are interested in radio technology or FCC this is a good movie to watch with a beer in hand. It is historically significant in that it was the first film shown on TV before theatrical release - but at that time TV was an experiment and viewership was minimal.
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