Mace Bishop (James Stewart) masquerades as a hangman in order to save his outlaw brother, Dee (Dean Martin), from the gallows, runs to Mexico chased by Sheriff July Johnson's (George Kennedy's) posse and fights against Mexican bandits.
The story of the FBI unfolds through the eyes of one of its agents. During his career he investigates gangsters, swindlers, the klu klux klan, Nazi agents and cold war spies.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Greatest crimefighters of the nation - on their most exciting assignments - from Chicago's underworld to jungle ambush in South America. Filmed on location to capture each thrilling aspect of it's best-selling story! See more »
John Gilbert Graham is shown getting his mother to sign the insurance policy before she boarded the flight. In reality, he never got her signature meaning he murdered 44 (not 49) people for no possible benefit. See more »
John Michael Hardesty:
On Sunday morning he left the house. He couldn't be going to work. Since he was a Communist, we knew he wasn't going to church.
See more »
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn
Played during the wedding ceremony See more »
The FBI For Richer Or Poorer
In the tradition of G-Men, The House On 92nd Street, The Street With No Name, now comes The FBI Story one of those carefully supervised films that showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the best possible light. While it's 48 year director J. Edgar Hoover was alive, it would be showed in no other kind of light.
The book by Don Whitehead that this film is based on is a straight forward history of the bureau from it's founding in 1907 until roughly the time the film The FBI Story came out. It's important sometimes to remember there WAS an FBI before J. Edgar Hoover headed it. Some of that time is covered in the film as well.
But Warner Brothers was not making a documentary so to give the FBI flesh and blood the fictional character of John 'Chip' Hardesty was created. Hardesty as played by James Stewart is a career FBI man who graduated law school and rather than go in practice took a job with the bureau in the early twenties.
In real life the Bureau was headed by William J. Burns of the Burns Private Detective Agency. It was in fact a grossly political operation then as is showed in the film. Burns was on the periphery of the scandals of the Harding administration. When Hoover was appointed in 1924 to bring professional law enforcement techniques and rigorous standards of competence in, he did just that.
Through the Hardesty family which is Stewart and wife Vera Miles we see the history of the FBI unfold. In addition we see a lot of their personal family history which is completely integrated into the FBI's story itself. Stewart and Miles are most assuredly an all American couple. We follow the FBI through some of the cases Stewart is involved with, arresting Ku Klux Klan members, a plot to murder oil rich Indians, bringing down the notorious criminals of the thirties, their involvement with apprehending Nazi sympathizers in World War II and against Communist espionage in the Cold War.
There is a kind of prologue portion where Stewart tells a class at the FBI Academy before going into the history of the bureau as it intertwines with his own. That involves a bomb placed on an airline by a son who purchased a lot of life insurance on his mother before the flight. Nick Adams will give you the creeps as the perpetrator and the story is sadly relevant today.
Of course if The FBI Story were written and produced today it would reflect something different and not so all American. Still the FBI does have a story to tell and it is by no means a negative one.
The FBI Story is not one of Jimmy Stewart's best films, but it's the first one I ever saw with my favorite actor in it so it has a special fondness for me. If the whole FBI were made up Jimmy Stewarts, I'd feel a lot better about it. There's also a good performance by Murray Hamilton as his friend and fellow agent who is killed in a shootout with Baby Face Nelson.
Vera Miles didn't just marry Stewart, she in fact married the FBI as the film demonstrates. It's dated mostly, but still has a good and interesting story to tell.
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