Nick Bianco is caught during a botched jewellery heist. The prosecution offer him a more lenient sentence if he squeals on his accomplices but he doesn't roll over on them. Three years into the sentence an event changes his mind.
Preface: a stentorian narrator tells us that the USA was flooded with Nazi spies in 1939-41. One such tries to recruit college grad Bill Dietrich, who becomes a double agent for the FBI. While Bill trains in Hamburg, a street-accident victim proves to have been spying on atom-bomb secrets; conveniently, Dietrich is assigned to the New York spy ring stealing these secrets. Can he track down the mysterious "Christopher" before his ruthless associates unmask and kill him?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie deals with the theft by German spies of the fictional "Process 97", a secret formula which, the narrator tells us, "was crucial to the development of the atomic bomb." The movie was released on September 10, 1945, only a month after the atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan, and barely a week after Japan's formal surrender. While making the film, the actors and Director Henry Hathaway did not know that the atomic bomb existed, nor that it would be incorporated as a story element in the movie. (None of the actors in the film mentioned the atomic bomb.) However, co-Director and Producer Louis De Rochemont (who produced the "March of Time" newsreel films) and Narrator Reed Hadley were involved in producing government films on the development of the atomic bomb. (Hadley was present at the final test of the bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in July, 1945.) After the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Hadley and Screenwriter John Monks, Jr. hastily wrote some additional voice-over narration linking "Process 97" to the atomic bomb, and Rochemont inserted it into the picture in time for the film's quick release. See more »
When the agents are preparing to do the first survey of the house they are wearing CD (Civil Defense) arm bands on their right arms. The next scene shows them approaching the house and the arm bands are now on their left arms. See more »
The Germans felt that Dietrich was an extremely valuable man... so did the FBI.
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Opening credits are shown as someone flipping through the pages of a file. See more »
Viewed as a period piece, semi-documentary about Nazi espionage still holds interest
This is the story of how the FBI supposedly cracked a Nazi espionage ring on the trail of Manhattan Project (the A-Bomb) in the early years of World War II. As a movie, its chief significance is that it kicked off a spate of semi-documentary movies paying tribute to one or another of the U.S. government's law enforcement agencies and celebrating Our Tax Dollars at Work. Such films became a staple of the noir cycle; a few of them even achieved distinction (T-Men, for instance).
William Eythe, a young American, is recruited by and trained in Germany to be a spy; in fact he works as a double agent for the FBI. The film, shot largely on location, traces the actions of the nest of vipers on New York's upper east side. Their unofficial master seems to be Signe Hasso, under cover of running a chic dress boutique. Her opposite number, who runs Eythe, is Lloyd Nolan (who was to reprise his role as Inspector Briggs in subsequent films).
The film's period flavor keeps it from seeming too dated, because the spying looks quite primitive to audiences spoiled by James Bond gimmickry and later, even more sophisticated, espionage thrillers. And, from a modern perspective, the smug boastfulness about the Bureau's -- and America's -- infallibility becomes a bit hard to swallow. There's little texture or nuance in the film, but, as a quasi-historical document, it exerts its own fascination.
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