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Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 25 February 1952 (Norway)
Trailer
2:58 | Trailer
As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Peter Viertel (screenplay), George Howe (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Basehart ... Lt. Dick Rennick
Gary Merrill ... Col. Devlin
Oskar Werner ... Cpl. Karl Maurer - aka Happy
Hildegard Knef ... Hilde (as Hildegarde Neff)
Dominique Blanchar ... Monique
O.E. Hasse ... Col. Oberst von Ecker
Wilfried Seyferth Wilfried Seyferth ... Heinz Scholtz - SS Man (as Wilfried Seyfert)
Hans Christian Blech ... Sgt. Rudolf Barth - aka Tiger
Helene Thimig ... Fräulein Paula Schneider
Robert Freitag ... Sgt. Paul Richter (as Robert Freytag)
George Tyne ... Sgt. Griffin
C.A. Amos C.A. Amos ... Himself (as C.A. Amos 1st Lt. USAF)
Harold Benedict Harold Benedict ... Lt. Pete Gevers
H.W. Briggs H.W. Briggs ... Himself (as H.W. Briggs Sgt. USA)
D.G. Devine D.G. Devine ... Lt. Rennick's Driver
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Storyline

WWII is entering its last phase: Germany is in ruins, but does not yield. The US army lacks crucial knowledge about the German units operating on the opposite side of the Rhine, and decides to send two German prisoners to gather information. The scheme is risky: the Gestapo retains a terribly efficient network to identify and capture spies and deserters. Moreover, it is not clear that "Tiger", who does not mind any dirty work as long as the price is right, and war-weary "Happy", who might be easily betrayed by his feelings, are dependable agents. After Tiger and another American agent are successfully infiltrated, Happy is parachuted in Bavaria. His duty: find out the whereabouts of a powerful German armored unit moving towards the western front. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A woman's kiss . . . A lighted cigarette - Each had Its meaning! An exciting and realistic story of war . . . of German Prisoners Sent Back Behind Their Own Lines as Agents of the Allies!

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

25 February 1952 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Legion of the Damned See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One of the first films after World War II to portray the German people--outside of the Nazi regime--in a sympathetic light. See more »

Goofs

When Karl Maurer--"Happy"--is stopped at the river bridge checkpoint in Mannheim, he says he "lost" his papers, and then makes a run for it. One of the building through which he is being chased, however, is the former Bavarian War Museum in Munich, several hundred kilometers away from Mannheim. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Paul Richter: The trouble with me is I want to stay alive. Like most of us, I talk but do nothing.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in That Girl: Decision Before Dawn (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Ach, wie ist' möglich dann (Treue Liebe)
(uncredited)
Written by Friedrich Kücken (1827)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What memories this must have dredged up
9 December 2004 | by fmadamsSee all my reviews

Having served in the US Army-Europe in Germany it was easy to see that this work was an accurate depiction of the world as Germans saw it in those years. Going to the IMDb database confirmed that it was filmed in Wurzberg, a city I visited many times. One can not help but wonder what memories and nightmares came back to life for the German people in this movie, or the ones who viewed it, or even witnessed the movie being made. The film is so very realistic in script, acting, and setting that some must have almost thought WWII was alive again. For those that lived through WWII in that country it must have seemed as if those days were repeating themselves. Every detail of this movie is accurate as far as I could tell. It does not employ overused stereotypes, no action heroes, no earth shaking grand and glorious finale, it simply depicts a period of time in all its' tragedy and irony in a most realistic manner. This work deserves more praise and exposure than it has received. A must see for every WWII researcher and historian.


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