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Nazi Agent
Salute to Courage

USA 1942
produced by
Irving Asher for MGM
directed by Jules Dassin
starring Conrad Veidt, Ann Ayars, Frank Reicher, Dorothy Tree, Ivan F. Simpson, William Tannen, Martin Kosleck, Marc Lawrence, Sidney Blackmer, Moroni Olsen, Pierre Watkin
written by Paul Gangelin, John Meehan jr, Lothar Mendes, music by Lennie Hayton

American World War II propaganda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 consule.

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.

Then 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 ...

 

A 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.

Now 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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD