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Operator 13 (1934)

Passed | | Drama, History, Romance | 8 June 1934 (USA)
Union spy Gail Loveless impersonates a black maid in the early days of the Civil War, but complications arise when she falls in love with a Confederate officer.

Director:

(as Richard Boleslavsky)

Writers:

(screen play) (as Harvey Thew), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Eleanor Shackleford
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Pauline
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Lt. Gus Littledale
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John Pelham
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Gen. Stuart (as Douglas Dumbrille)
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Capt. Channing
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Pvt. Sweeney
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Col. Sharpe
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Mrs. Shackleford
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Gaston
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Operator 55
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Storyline

Gail Loveless, a spy known as Operator 13 working for the Union and Federal cause during the Civil War, posing as a Confederate woman named Anne Claybourne, meets and falls in love with Confederate Captain Jack Galliard. Dusguised as an octoroom maid at a Confedarate military ball, she learns and relays secrets to the Union forces that are devastating to the Rebel cause. Assigned to the case to track down and kill the spy maid, Galliard learns she is also the woman he loves, but proceeds with his assignment. He captures her but is in danger of being captured himself as Federal forces are approaching. Gail/Anne saves him and they part to wait until peace comes to resume their romance. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spy 13  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marion Davies' final film for MGM, where she had reined for more than a dozen years. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, the bugler is ordered to sound "Officers Call". He does so, and a distant bugler in the camp repeats the call. However, the second call is sounded in a much higher key. In reality, both bugles would play in the same key. See more »

Quotes

Major Allen aka Allen Pinkerton: Operators 27 and 13 are not men.
'Doctor' Hitchcock: What are they, mules?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Uncivil Warriors (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Other Songs
(uncredited)
Written by Howard Dietz, Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson.
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User Reviews

 
Marion Davies blackface paint never runs
5 September 2017 | by See all my reviews

You can get the plot details somewhere else, bub. Marion Davies plays the part of Gail Loveless, who becomes a Union spy, and once in Confederate territory disguises herself as a black slave. She goes undercover as a slave, performing the services of a maid, doing laundry. She somehow passes for a biracial woman. To disguise herself she wears a lightly toned blackface. She looks like a woman with a spray tan. Her blackface makeup never wears off—Never! —Not when she washes clothes, not when she is splashed by water as a horse stomps in a creek, not when tears roll down her cheeks. The only thing worse than Marion Davies's blackface is her black-voice. It makes you cringe. I had a strong urge to turn the TV off, but I watched on.

There are many black actors in the film and the Mills Brothers perform the best musical acts, although, the songs they sing have racist lyrics. During Jungle Fever, the black actors, who portray the black folks in the town, look saucer-eyed, tranced and spooked, as they dance and jive to the music—it will make you queasy. And like many movies of that time, the black characters are happy and content (what could be wrong?), laughing and smiling, whether they are singing, dancing, cooking, serving, doing laundry, or helping a bride with her wedding dress. Don't they know there's a war on? The North won the Civil War and Hollywood made movies like Operator 13, which makes you wonder about what kinds of movies they'd have made if the South had won.


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