Monday, August 17, 2015


This is one of those fun Warner Bros. B-movies that is well-produced, fast-moving, acted just well enough, and goes by in a flash. Storyline #1: On the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, German-American hotel owner Frank Reicher goes to his lawyer and friend (Craig Stevens) to see if he can help get his ailing wife out of Germany before war is declared. Stevens tries but is unsuccessful; however, Reicher's chauffeur puts him in touch with a doctor (Robert Warwick) who turns out to be a Nazi spy and who offers help if Reicher will let Warwick and his spies operate out of his hotel. Reluctantly, Reicher agrees. Storyline #2: Two FBI agents, John Ridgely and Charles Lang, are chasing a German spy and, at the recommendation of Stevens, who knows Lang, they stay at Reicher's hotel. Lang's room turns out to be a trap; a bellboy brings Lang a radio, and when he turns it on, a poison gas is pumped out which kills Lang. Because the hotel was suggested by Stevens, Ridgely suspects him of the murder, but when Stevens applies to be become an agent to avenge Lang's death, Ridgely becomes his teacher and mentor. Soon the plotlines converge and Stevens and Ridgely are hot on the trail of Warwick and his thugs.

With a running time of 57 minutes, there is not an ounce of fat on this speedy little spy thriller. There is a lot of plot—I've left out an entire thread about Stevens' girlfriend (Faye Emerson), a chanteuse in the hotel club, who may or may not be helping the Nazis—and a lot of action, with at least three separate well-staged slam-bang scenes of fistfights and gunplay. The poison gas scenes—there are two—are nicely played. Ridgely, who is one of my favorite B-actors of the 40s, and Stevens (both pictured above) are fine, though Warwick's performance as the head Nazi is a little underdone. Emerson's character seems like an afterthought to get some femme appeal in. But I'm not going to quibble—this is a solid B-film that I would watch again. [TCM]

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