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British Intelligence (1940)

Approved | | Romance, Thriller, War | 29 January 1940 (USA)
Although the home of cabinet minister Arthur Bennett is a hotbed of spies, moles, and double agents, no one knows the true identity of notorious German spymaster Strendler.

Director:

Terry O. Morse (as Terry Morse)

Writers:

Lee Katz (screen play), Anthony Paul Kelly (based on a play ['Two Faces East'] by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Valdar
Margaret Lindsay ... Helene von Lorbeer
Bruce Lester ... Frank Bennett
Leonard Mudie ... James Yeats
Holmes Herbert ... Arthur Bennett
Austin Fairman Austin Fairman ... George Bennett
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Storyline

During WWI pretty German master spy Helene von Lorbeer is sent undercover to London to live with the family of a high-placed British official where she is to rendezvous with the butler Valdar, also a spy, and help him transmit secret war plans back to Germany. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

29 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secret Enemy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened in New York City, New York, USA on 13 August 1918 and had 335 performances. It was produced by George M. Cohan and the cast included Frank Sheridan and Cora Witherspoon. See more »

Goofs

When in London in a taxi, Helene says to Henry Thompson "Wasn't there a son?" Thompson replies "Frank, I think his name is. He's in France in the Air Force." The Royal Air Force did not come into existence until 1st April 1918 and was at that time The Royal Flying Corps. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Arthur Benneft: But, tell me, Yeats, these sacrifices we are all making - do you think they will eventually mean something to mankind?
Colonel James Yeats: I wish I were able to answer that question. We want to help humanity. We fight wars only because we crave peace so ardently and pray that each war will be the last. But always in the strange scheme of things some maniac with a lust for power arises and, in one moment, destroys the peace and tranquility we've created through the years. We hate war! We despise it, but...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: FRANCE 1917 See more »

Connections

Edited into Who Dunit Theater: British Intelligence (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good For Its Genre
11 January 2006 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This is very good for its genre, with an interesting story, solid atmosphere, and two good leading performances from Boris Karloff and Margaret Lindsay. Made during the early part of the Second World War (when England was enduring constant air assaults and other threats), and set during the First World War, there is an obvious patriotic slant to it. But aside from a short speech by one of the characters at the end of the movie, it mostly allows the story and characters to stand on their own.

Karloff and Lindsay star as two very resourceful spies who are planted in the home of a prominent English family, with most of the story revolving around whether they are spies on behalf of England or on behalf of Germany. Karloff is, of course, especially good in a part like this, giving his character a believably ingratiating manner in his cover role as a butler, and a steely eye in his unguarded moments. He makes it easy to believe that his character can keep everyone else in the dark.

Lindsay gets one of her best roles, and she makes full use of it. Her character obviously has weapons much different from those of Karloff's character, and she too is believable in keeping the others, even Karloff, guessing.

The story moves at a good pace, and it features several good turns as it builds up the tension. Like many movies of this kind, there are places here and there where it could have been improved. In particular, its portrayal of Britain as a traitor-riddled society threatened with imminent collapse shows the strong influence of the frightening times in which it was filmed. But in its time it probably provided some genuine encouragement, and today it still remains an enjoyable movie that is well worth the time to see.


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