Based on the long-running radio program created by Philips H. Lord, the film opens with a radio commentator blasting the U. S. government for the manner in which a certain foreign power has... See full summary »
Based on the long-running radio program created by Philips H. Lord, the film opens with a radio commentator blasting the U. S. government for the manner in which a certain foreign power has obtained secret information during WWII. The commentator is brought to the secret headquarters of "David Harding, Counterspy" where he learns that the story was deliberately planted with the commentator to fool the enemy. Harding them tells, in flashback, a specific story to illustrate how counter-espionage works. Jerry Baldwin, a U.S. Navy officer is brought to a city where torpedoes are manufactured for the Navy, and his assignment is to find out information is leaking out to the enemy. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the opening credits, Columbia Pictures chose to precede the name of Howard St. John with the verb "introducing," although the veteran stage actor had already played in four pictures. Oftentimes studios used this term with actors with small public exposure who were on the way up to pronounce their names. St. John was forty-five at the time of this picture's release; but his body of work was on stage with one TV credit. See more »
Columbia Pictures produced a number of films based on Old Time Radio programs. Several were serials, such as Captain Midnight and Jack Armstrong. But this one is a feature. Based on the radio program, "Counterspy," the radio show originated in 1942, and spent its war years having Harding and his counterspies contend against Gestapo and Black Dragon activities. The show was popular, and continued through 1957.
The film was set in the Cold War, but effectively was a flashback to 1943. In the beginning of the film, Harding causes a radio commentator to break a story with planted disinformation, so he brings the commentator in and, to compensate, gives him the story that comprises the film.
At the beginning of the story, a tough-as-nails Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, Jerry Baldwin, is drafted by the Counterspies to investigate espionage activities in a plant that manufactured torpedoes. Baldwin's predecessor, Phil Iverson, an Annapolis classmate, who was stationed at the torpedo plant, had been found dead, presumably from smoking in bed, but with some suspicion of murder. Baldwin was to take Iverson's job, but working with the Counterspies.
Iverson's widow, Betty Iverson, was a woman that Baldwin was in love with before she married. She is asked to take her old job back, as secretary to Baldwin. Baldwin dates her, and romance blooms. However, it turns out that she's in cahoots with the factory's doctor, George Vickers, who's the head of an Axis spy ring.
The story's scattered with a lot of clandestine activity, and refreshingly, most of the characters are fairly intelligent. A number of spy tricks are presented, and the story is worthy of the radio program it emulates.
David Harding, as a spymaster, usually directed activities rather than acting as a field agent. The film follows this pattern.
Especially good if the viewer is familiar with the radio series, but entertaining even if this is the first exposure to the title character.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?