6.7/10
1,315
34 user 8 critic

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)

Approved | | Drama, War | 6 May 1939 (USA)
FBI agent Ed Renard investigates the pre-War espionage activities of the German-American Bund.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Milton Krims (screen play), John Wexley (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
4 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A plane has engine trouble while flying over a jungle inhabited by cannibals.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mild-mannered school-teacher in a Nazi-occupied town during W.W.II finds himself being torn between collaboration and resistance.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jim Curtayne, formerly a successful defense attorney who is now a recovering alcoholic, attempts a comeback when he defends a neighbor's son facing a homicide charge.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, Diana Lynn
Honolulu (1939)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wanting a break from his overzealous fans, a famous movie star hires a Hawaiian plantation owner to switch places with him for a few weeks.

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, George Burns
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Canadian Mountie of German descent feigns disaffection with his homeland in hopes of infiltrating and thwarting a Nazi sabotage plot.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Julie Bishop, Helmut Dantine
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Playboy Bill Carey woos a half-caste beauty in French Indochina, but her second-class legal status makes a formidable barrier.

Directors: Jack Conway, Leslie Fenton
Stars: Robert Taylor, Hedy Lamarr, Joseph Schildkraut
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In Europe at the start of World War II, a woman notices that wherever her husband goes, the Nazis seem to follow. Meanwhile, a charming reporter is following them.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Walter Slezak
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man who lived his life as he was was told he should, not as he would have chosen to, is brought out of his shell by a beautiful young woman.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Robert Young, Ruth Hussey
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Rosalind Russell, James Stewart, Genevieve Tobin
Bataan (1943)
War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1942, in the Bataan peninsula of the Philippines, a ragtag American unit commanded by Sergeant Bill Dane attempts to blow-up a bridge in order to slow the Japanese advance.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Robert Taylor, George Murphy, Lloyd Nolan
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic.

Directors: Lloyd Bacon, Byron Haskin, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, Alan Hale
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward G. Robinson ... Edward Renard
Francis Lederer ... Schneider
George Sanders ... Schlager
Paul Lukas ... Dr. Kassell
Henry O'Neill ... Attorney Kellogg
Dorothy Tree ... Hilda Kleinhauer
Lya Lys ... Erika Wolf
Grace Stafford ... Mrs. Schneider
James Stephenson ... British Military Intelligence Agent
Hedwiga Reicher ... Mrs. Kassell (as Celia Sibelius)
Joe Sawyer ... Werner Renz
Sig Ruman ... Krogman (as Sig Rumann)
Lionel Royce Lionel Royce ... Hintze
Henry Victor ... Wildebrandt
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Helldorf (as Hans von Twardowski)
Edit

Storyline

Prior to the United States entry into World War II, Nazi spies try to steal American military secrets. Among those whose passions are roused is Kurt Schneider who was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the US Army. Schneider is not very bright and is easily swayed by the oratory of Dr. Karl Kassel, a prominent physician who is eventually made the head of the Nazi spy ring. When Schneider's contact is arrested in Scotland, the US military asks the FBI to root out the spies. Agent Edward Renard is put in charge of the case and they methodically arrest all who have been spying. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EXPOSED! It Was Our American Duty to Make This Picture! It's Your American Priviledge to See It! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

6 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Storm over America See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Bros. increased security throughout the production and some actors slept on the Warners lot. Sabotage was suspected when a boom holding one of the cameras collapsed, narrowly missing director Anatole Litvak. See more »

Goofs

To a scene of a train speeding along tracks and under a signal gantry the narrator says "Arriving in Germany Dr. Kassel finds a totally different Fatherland from the one he left 10 years earlier" However the engine, no 464, the carriages and signals are obviously British. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Some months ago, various persons appeared in the federal courts of New York City and the Panama Canal Zone, charged with the crime of espionage against the armed forces of the United States. Called to the witness stand, they swore to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God". The story brought out at those trials is stranger than fiction, revealing the existence of a vast spy ring operating against the naval, military, and air forces of the United...
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the 1940 re-release, Warner Bros. added footage showing the devastation inflicted on Norway, Holland and Belgium, those countries then occupied by Germany. That footage is included in the print shown on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Connections

Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

German National Anthem (Das Lied der Deutschen)
(1797) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Joseph Haydn
Played at the New York Bund rally
Reprised at the rally in Stuttgart, Germany
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
something for everyone
7 September 2008 | by mukava991See all my reviews

This is a fast-paced, sometimes slightly confusing but never boring semi-documentary- style FBI drama about the hunt for a ring of Nazi spies in the US in the years leading up to World War Two. The nastiest Nazis are played by such villainous actors as George Sanders, Martin Kosleck and Hans von Twardowski; somewhat softer but still powerful characterizations are supplied by Frances Lederer as a misfit with dreams of grandeur and Paul Lukas as a cultivated and respected doctor who lectures at gatherings of the German- American Bund. They are all scheming to steal military secrets for the use of the Third Reich in its ambitions to conquer America. Edward G. Robinson plays the FBI official who tracks them down. If you are familiar with later movies like House on 92nd Street, Double Indemnity, Hangmen Also Die, They Drive By Night, The Stranger and Man Hunt you will see that all of these actors were past masters of the types of roles they played therein.

Based on a true story of a spy ring in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, these frightening individuals are brought to compelling life under the no-nonsense direction of Anatole Litvak. Although the film can certainly be described as propagandistic, particularly with the bombastic Walter Winchellesque narration, who can argue that something sinister wasn't afoot in those days and that America wasn't directly threatened by a powerful and totalitarian rival? Sure, America was not perfect either, but it is easy to be roused by the spirit of independence and individual liberty that is evoked by the good guys trapping and defeating the bad guys.

One of the best scenes is the interrogation of Frances Lederer by the seasoned FBI agent Robinson who cleverly yet forcefully appeals to Lederer's vanity to coax him into confessing and naming names. Paul Lukas is also gripping as the suave and confident doctor who by degrees crumbles in defeat after first being cornered by the FBI and then set upon by the Gestapo. Unfortunately the fate of some of the spies is not resolved at the end and the narrative just seems to drop them in favor of a blitzkrieg of wartime propaganda (much of it added after the film's initial release to update it for 1940 audiences). According to the FBI historian who appeared on Turner Classic Movies to introduce and discuss the film, this anti- espionage effort was largely a failure but the FBI learned a great deal from it and got better at its job in ensuing years. Part documentary, part detective story, part human drama, part cat-and-mouse chase adventure. Something for everyone.


17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 34 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed