Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) DVD-5

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Post 13-Jul-2014 11:07


Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)
Drama, War
раздача для $Shorox
В главных ролях:
Эдвард Дж. Робинсон
Френсис Ледерер
Джордж Сэндерс
Пол Лукас
Генри О’Нилл
Дороти Три
Лия Лис
Грэйс Стэффорд
Джеймс Стивенсон
Hedwiga Reicher
Confessions of a Nazi Spy is a 1939 spy thriller and the first blatantly anti-Nazi film produced by a major Hollywood studio prior to World War II. The film stars Edward G. Robinson, George Sanders, and a large cast of German actors, including some who had emigrated from their country after the rise of Adolf Hitler. Though the film can rightfully be seen as propaganda, it was based on the articles of former FBI agent Leon G. Turrou, who had been active in investigating Nazi spy rings in the United States prior to the war.
Despite its controversial subject, the film was a major worldwide box office hit for Warner Bros. and won the year's National Board of Review award for Best Film. Confessions of a Nazi Spy was banned in Germany, Japan, and many Latin American countries.
Scenes from Confessions of a Nazi Spy are shown in War Comes to America, the last of the Why We Fight propaganda film series.
Plot summary:
Dr. Karl Kassel (Paul Lukas) comes to America to rally support for the Nazi cause among German-Americans. He instructs his audience at a German restaurant that the Führer has declared war on the evils of democracy and that as Germans, they should carry out his wishes. Kurt Schneider (Francis Lederer), an unemployed professor, joins the cause and eventually becomes a spy for the group. A letter written by Schneider to a liaison in Scotland is intercepted by a British Military Intelligence officer (James Stephenson), leading to the ring's downfall.
FBI agent Ed Renard (Edward G. Robinson) is assigned to the case, and is able to capture Schneider and extract a confession. Through Schneider, Renard is led to Hilda Kleinhaure (Dorothy Tree), then Kassel's mistress Erika Wolff (Lya Lys), and eventually the ring leader himself. While the FBI manage to capture many members of the ring and their accomplices, several, including Hilda, manage to escape, but ultimately face prosecution overseas.
TCM Review:
Considered the first anti-Nazi film produced by a major studio, Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) follows Edward G. Robinson in the role of FBI agent Ed Renard as he investigates a Nazi espionage ring headed up by dedicated National Socialist, Dr. Kassell, played by Paul Lukas in a part he patterned after Hitler himself. From the first clues in Scotland that the Nazis have infiltrated the US, to the suspenseful pursuit of Dr. Kassell and others, we are witness to spy rings, violence, deceit, and a new and egregious evil come to our shores. The film hit the viewing public with a wallop; it was an expose the times.
In 1939 the US was still distracted by the last vestiges of the Great Depression. The war in Europe was a far off problem and irrelevant to most. But not to Jack and Harry Warner. Children of hard working immigrants, they had built a career on movies about the little guy, oppression, and fighting for freedom. For example, film biographies produced by Warner Brothers such as The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and Juarez (1939) can be interpreted as historical allegories with barely disguised references to anti-Semitism and totalitarianism. A case can even be made for costume dramas such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) which can be seen as using the familiar storyline to address the dangers of dictatorial power and corrupt governments. Coincidentally, the first major film for Warner Brothers in 1918 was a propaganda action film, illustrating the build up to World War One entitled My Four Years in Germany. So, in 1939, when the first Jewish escapees from the Nazi concentration camps started telling their stories to the world, and when German thugs spray painted and ransacked the Warner offices in Berlin, murdering one of their employees, it made perfect sense that Jack and Harry Warner decided it was time to release Confessions of a Nazi Spy, regardless of being labeled warmongers and propagandists.
Despite personal threats against most of the principals of the film, Confessions of a Nazi Spy was courageously released in 1939, six months before the official beginning of the Second World War, and served its purpose of awakening a good deal of the American public to the dangers of Nazism. It stirred up enough controversy so that in 1941, after several protestations by isolationists, Nazi sympathizers and those fearful of losing business overseas with the "friendly" German nation, the brothers Warner were testifying before a Senate hearing - just two months before Pearl Harbor - investigating "moving picture propaganda" which fostered "war mongering." Harry Warner explained in his statement to the committee that the movie was not merely a work of fiction designed to build support for the war, but, "correctly portrayed the operation of a Nazi spy ring in this country, as this operation was disclosed at a Federal trial which convicted the conspirators." And, in fact, the film was based on a series of articles by former FBI agent Leon G. Turrou, depicting the spy case mentioned by Harry Warner. It also utilized a semi-documentary style showing spy ring activities in newsreel fashion and even showed some actual news clips from the 1937 trials of four Nazis convicted of espionage.
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Post 14-Jul-2014 04:50 (after 17 hours)

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