25 November 2005 | bkoganbing
Got Their Wars Mixed Up
Warner Brothers really could have used a better script for this mishmash of a movie which managed to juxtapose the events of World War I into the days before World War II.
The film opens with a description of the famous Black Tom explosion of a munition factory located on an island in the middle of the Hudson River. You can still see the remnants of it today. This occurred before World War I and was traced to German saboteurs then.
The message is quite clear, America needs to have its own espionage agency and we got one with the formation of the Office of Strategic Services as World War II broke out. Until then such distasteful spying matters was handled within the State Department.
Joel McCrea is a foreign service officer who marries refugee Brenda Marshall. Problem is that Marshall had gotten help from the Germans and they expect some help in return. Of course she's in love with her new husband and she refuses and exposes their contact man, Martin Kosleck.
With McCrea's dismissal from the foreign service, the newlyweds decide to form there own plan to expose the German's secret espionage network with a little spying of their own. How they manage is the rest of the film.
For a film that supposedly takes place before American entry into World War I, why is that everyone is dressed in the Nazi uniforms of the Thirties? Everything is there but the swastika. There's not even any kind of effort with music or sets to set the film in its proper time frame.
The only reason this gets as much as three stars is a tribute to the players involved. Joel McCrea was simply in a dress rehearsal for the far better Foreign Correspondent he would do the following year.