Somewhere in the USA, shortly before America entered World War II: Otto
(Conrad Veidt) is a harmless stamp collector who has fled Nazi Germany
almost a decade ago because of the Nazi regime. He has since become an
American patriot ... not so his twin brother Hugo (Veidt again) though, a
Nazi inside and out, and German colsule to the USA. And Hugo wants to use
Otto's stamp store as a secret cover for his Fifth Column operations. Otto
refuses, naturally, which eventually leads to a fight between the
brothers, during which Otto sees himself forced to shoot Hugo dead - with
Hugo's weapon of course. And now he's in a bit of a jam, naturally,
because the house is surrounded by Nazi secret agents - but nobody has
witnessed the murder, so Otto decides to assume the identity of his
brother and tell the Nazis to get rid of Hugo's body. Nobody has any
reason to doubt Otto, so they proceed as told and regard Otto as the
Of course, Otto isn't really "becoming" his brother,
he only assumes his identity to work as a mole for the FBI - who never get
the first hint about his identity, but his tips invariably prove valuable.
Soon, more and more Nazi plots are uncovered, and more and more Nazi spies
are arrested, and Otto is never even suspected, since his brother was that
well-regarded that nobody would ever suspect him to switch sides.
though Otto meets Kaaren De Relle (Ann Ayars), a young woman who was once
hired by the Nazis to let her beauty and charms work for them and their
evil plots, but who has long become disillusioned by her Nazi employers,
who wants out, but who has long realized that she's caught in their web
and has to push on for better or worse - mostly worse. But she delivers
her info to Otto, whom she like everyone believes to be Hugo, the man who
has long lusted for her and who has tricked her into collaboration in the
first place, in short, the man she detests. But when she finds out he uses
her information to warn the American authorities and to wreck the
organisation, her feelings for him change, and he develops a soft spot for
her as well.
Finally, thanks to Kaaren's information, Otto can prevent
the Fifth Columnists from blowing up the Panama Canal, and in one go also
have the local chief of operations (Moroni Olsen) and his main American
collaborator (Marc Lawrence) shoot each other dead and have most of the
Fifth Columnists deported from American shores - but at the same time,
this gives Hugo's right hand man Richten (Martin Kosleck) the final clue
that Otto is indeed Otto, and now he wants take revenge by destroying
Kaaren - upon which Otto makes the ultimate sacrifice by offering Richten
to take himself to Germany as traitor Hugo (who's sure to be executed) in
exchange for Kaaren's life. Which Hugo accepts.
When his boat to Germany
passes the Statue of Liberty, Otto knows he has done the right thing ...
vastly simplified and one-sided espionage thriller (though it's hard to
not be one-sided when it comes to Nazis) - but that shouldn't be too
surprising considering when this movie was made. But even taking this into
consideration, Nazi Agent isn't a particularly good film, mainly because
its premise seems a little forced/far fetched, its heroes and villains are
a little too black and white (admittedly a problem of all propaganda
movies), the whole thing lacks a bit in the tension and suspense
department, and the tagged on love story seems extremely contrived.
admittedly, I've seen way worse anti-Nazi propaganda from the era - but
that doesn't make this one a good film by a longshot.