***SPOILERS*** Almost incomprehensible plot that has to do with a Nazi spy ring in the heart of New York City masquerading around as a bunch of refugee European society blue-bloods.
Emotionaly disturbed and mentally broken Jon "Kit" McKittrick, John Garfield,is back in New York after a stay at a rest home in Arizona. McKittrick is recovering from the horrors of being held prisoner for two years in a Nazi-like prison camp, in Spain. McKittrick finds out ,through an old newspaper clipping, that his old friend and NYPD cop Let. Louie Lepitino had killed himself while he was away recovering in the Arizona rest home. It was Louie who helped get Kit out of the Fascist prison camp in Spain a year earlier. Kit is now sure that Louie's tragic death wasn't an accident, it was murder.
Having been captured at the end of the Spanish Civil War were he fought the Spanish Fascists forces of Francisco Franco Kit was put under extreme torture by his captors to find something that he hid from them before he was apprehend. Unknown to the Fascists the item is safely locked up in a secret Libson Portugal bank safe deposit box.
With all the sub-plots and double-crossing in the movie "The Fallen Sparrow" you never get a handle to what these cryptic-Nazis, hiding behind the facade of Spanish and French Royality, want from the poor and mentally unbalanced Kit McKittrick.
Were given information from Kit,in what looks like a drug induced stupor, that he was involved in the death of a top German general in the Spanish Civil War. This general was a close friend and fellow 1923 Beer Hall putsch veteran of Adolf Hitler himself. It was Hitler who then ordered the Gestapo and Nazi agents to track down every member of this anti-Fascist brigade, responsible for the German Generals death. The Gestapo and it's agents in the US were not only told have them killed but to find the brigade pennant, or official flag, which only Kit knew where it is: In the Libson's bank safe deposit box.
Increidably complicated and convoluted plot that you just give up on almost half way through the movie. Kit's all over the place looking for this lame or club footed Nazi doctor, like the one-armed man in the TV show "The Fugitive", who's now the Nazi agent out to get him to talk about where the pennant is and, after getting the information from Kit, then murder him. This Nazi is also the man who Kit remembers back from his time in the Spanish prison from the sounds he made when he walked. Kit never saw him. It later comes out that everything that happened to Kit from the time he left Arizona to when he got to New York was all planned, ahead of time, by this group of pseudo-aristocratic Nazis themselves.
Like a boat in a thick fog at sea the movie just limps along making little if any sense at all as it reaches it's totally unbelievable climax. Kit finally finds out not just who was behind the death of policemen Louie Lepitino, it turns out that Louie didn't kill himself like Kit suspected, but the murder of his close friend and Washington insider Ab Parker, Bruce Edwards.
I thought that it was a bit egotistical of Kit to think that the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler himself took such a deep interest in him to the point of forgoing his responsibility of conducting the German military in WWII against the allies. An obsession on Hitler's part which, if you take Kit and the movie "The Fallen Sparrow" seriously,eventually cost him the war.
The relationship between Kit and mystery women Toni Donne, Maureen O'Hara,also took a great strain on your thought processing mechanisms. You never for once know just what Toni's role in this half cocked scheme as well as her involvement with these Nazis really is? You get at least three different explanations from her in the movie to just what Toni's role is in all this none of which make any sense at all!
The Nazi spies are headed by this off-the-wall torture fixated psycho Dr. Christian Skaas, Walter Slezak. Dr. Skass brain-addled sidekick is the former, or what he thinks he is, French monarch as well as the bluest of European blue-bloods Prince Fracois De Namur played by veteran Jewish Yiddish theater actor Sam Goldenberg.
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