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The FBI Story (1959)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, History | October 1959 (USA)
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3:15 | Trailer

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A dedicated FBI agent recalls the agency's battles against the Klan, organized crime and Communist spies.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Richard L. Breen (screenplay), John Twist (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... John Michael 'Chip' Hardesty
Vera Miles ... Lucy Ann Hardesty
Murray Hamilton ... Sam Crandall
Larry Pennell ... George Crandall
Nick Adams ... John Gilbert 'Jack' Graham
Diane Jergens ... Jennie Hardesty
Jean Willes ... Anna Sage
Joyce Taylor ... Anne Hardesty
Victor Millan Victor Millan ... Mario
Parley Baer ... Harry Dakins
Fay Roope Fay Roope ... Dwight McCutcheon
Ed Prentiss ... U.S. Marshal
Robert Gist ... Medicine Salesman
Buzz Martin Buzz Martin ... Mike Hardesty
Ken Mayer ... Casket Salesman (as Kenneth Mayer)
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Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You are crouched in a basement stairway opposite a theatre in Chicago. Keep your eyes on that FBI man across the street. He has set the trap for deadly public enemy, John Dillinger... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Geheimagent des FBI See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in the film in which J. Edgar Hoover "personally" arrested Alvin Carpis has since been debunked as a myth created by Hoover himself. In 1936 Hoover had gone before the Senate Appropriations Commitee to get more funds to continue to build the FBI. A senator asked Hoover if he'd ever personally made an arrest. Hoover kept trying to dodge the question but was eventually forced to answer that he hadn't (he'd joined the bureau as an Assistant Director and was promoted through the bureaucracy without ever having served in the field). Embarrassed by the hearings, Hoover made it a point to follow the case of Carpis, the last of the high-profile 1930s-era bank robbers. According to Carpis himself in his autobiography "Public Enemy Number One: The Alvin Karpis Story", as he was leaving the hotel to get into his car, he was surrounded by nearly a dozen well-armed agents who forced him out of the car. As he stood there being patted down for weapons, he noticed two men peering around the corner. An agent saw what Carpis was looking at and said, "It's okay, Chief. We got 'im." Then Hoover and his assistant 'Clyde Tolson (I)' (who makes a cameo appearance in the film in the same scene as Hoover) came out and Hoover dramatically showed Carpis his badge, declaring, "Carpis, you're under arrest!" See more »

Goofs

The rifle that kills the Indian is aimed nowhere near him. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in Matilda (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Pretty Baby
(uncredited)
Music by Egbert Van Alstyne and Tony Jackson
Played during the barber shop scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing Docu-drama!
10 November 2006 | by bsmith5552See all my reviews

"The FBI Story" tries to tell the story of the evolution of the FBI over 35 years, through the eyes of a veteran agent, Chip Hardesty (James Stewart). It spins off into several segments covering Hardesty's career. There's a segment on the Klu Klux Klan (with nary an African American in sight), one showing the cheating of native Americans out of their oil leases in Texas and several brief run-ins with the well known gangsters of the 1930s.

Inrerspersed with these episodes are home life interludes where Stewart's character turns into George Bailey ("Its a Wonderful Life" (1946)). He meets and marries Lucy (Vera Miles) and we follow their lives through the birth of three children, a miscarriage, a separation and a war time tragedy.

Told in a documentary style, this film, in my opinion is far too long at 149 minutes. The action sequences, such as they are, are brief and with no character development of the gangsters. They are simply confronted by the FBI and either arrested or gunned down. The Hardesty character is hardly involved in these segments and he does not confront any of the gangsters directly.

The at home sequences while well played, look like something out of "Father Knows Best", the popular TV series of the day. Another thing I found unusual was the fact that Stewart and Miles basically carry the whole film. Other characters appear briefly then either get killed off or disappear altogether. While Stewart and Miles do their best, they hardly seem to have aged 35 years over the course of the story. And there are no name actors to speak of in the supporting cast. Murray Hamilton, Larry Pennell and Nick Adams do appear briefly, but were not that well known in 1959.

James Cagney's "G-Men" (1935) covered the FBI's early years much better.


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