This Paramount Studio's production stars Alan Ladd, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Gloria Saunders, Don Beddoe, Richard Benedict, Harold Vermilyea, Richard Webb and John Hoyt. The film is based on the activities of several agents of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the C.I.A.
The film starts with O.S.S. trainee Alan Ladd being sent to infiltrate an American plant. Ladd manages to lift the blueprint he is after but is nabbed while trying to get away. He is grabbed up by the F.B.I. and given a round of third degree. The session ends when Ladd is released to a Government official. Ladd is then taken back to O.S.S. headquarters to discuss what he did wrong.
With the upcoming D-Day Invasion of France happening soon, the training is cut short. Ladd and several others are shipped off to England for final briefings. Ladd, Richard Benedict and Don Beddoe are joined the last member of the team, Geraldine Fitzgerald.
The group will be dropped into France to make contact with the French underground. They are to gather info on German troop movements. Their main mission is to blow up a vital German railway tunnel. This will slow down the German response to the D-Day landings.
The plan goes sideways right from the start. They fail to make the meeting with the French underground and agent in charge Beddoe is killed by the Germans. The group decides to continue with their mission. They finally make contact with the underground and start gathering intelligence on the Nazi bunch.
Complicating matters is local German commander. John Hoyt. Hoyt takes a fancy to Miss Fitzgerald and takes her out several times. Ladd tells her to see what info she can collect from Hoyt. Fitzgerald happens to be a sculptor of some skill, and has Hoyt sit for her as she does a bust of him.
When Hoyt offers a train ride to Normandy, she jumps at the chance. The train will go right through the tunnel they came to destroy. She makes a new bust out of plastic explosive to bring. Ladd boards the train engine with forged papers as a railway inspector. Just before the tunnel he throws out the engine crew and stops the train inside said tunnel. Fitzgerald sends Hoyt off to see why the train has stopped. Then Ladd and Fitzgerald plant the explosive "head", light the fuse and bolt. The tunnel is destroyed but Hoyt survives. (minus an eye) Fitzgerald chews out Ladd for coming back to get her.
D-Day now happens and the Germans begin their retreat across France. The trio, Ladd, Fitzgerald and Benedict join in with the civilians fleeing the fighting. Hoyt though is on their trail and has sent out flyers with their descriptions.
Ladd and Fitzgerald are soon cornered in a small village by a Gestapo type. The man, Harold Vermilyea, knows the Germans are going to lose the war. He offers to feed the pair top secret info and the like. He wants a promise not to be arrested after the war, and a large cash deposit into his Swiss bank account.
The info is soon flowing to England and the cash to the Swiss bank. The info is passed to Benedict who photographs the papers then returns them to Vermilyea. The film is then passed to Ladd and then passed for pick up by an O.S.S. aircraft. Benedict also radios the info in code. This cozy arrangement with Gestapo man Vermilyea goes south when Hoyt arrives on the scene. He has tracked Ladd and company to the area. Benedict is killed sending out a message. Vermilyea is found out and grabbed up while Ladd and Fitzgerald barely make their escape. They make it to a pickup point where they are to meet an O.S.S. plane.
Instead of a flight home and safety, the two get further orders to head for the Rhine. There they are to meet with another O.S.S. man, Richard Webb, and collect his info. Ladd is less than amused with these new instructions, he and Fitzgerald are near their breaking point. But orders are orders.
They are soon on the Rhine trying to find agent Webb. Webb, dressed as a German soldier, happens upon them. The info is passed and Webb takes off to see what else he can learn.
Ladd heads to the forest to dig up their radio. While Ladd is off making radio contact, Hoyt drives up to the house where Fitzgerald is. Fitzgerald is grabbed up and taken into custody. Hoyt plans a most painful end for Miss Fitzgerald.
The taking of Miss Fitzgerald is seen by a young boy, Bobby (Treasure Island) Driscoll. Driscoll runs to where Ladd is and tells him. Ladd is about to head back to see if he can stop Hoyt, but remembers what Fitzgerald had said. Do not come back, the job comes first. Ladd stays and makes the radio link, passing on the important info. Needless to say what happens to Miss Fitzgerald.
This is quite watchable war/ espionage film. The director was Irving Pichel. Pichel was a former actor who turned to directing. His films include. "She" "Secret Agent of Japan", "The Pied Piper", "Destination Moon", "The Moon is Down" as well as the noir, 'They Won't Believe Me" and "Quicksand".
The d of p was three time Oscar nominated and one time winner, Lionel Lindon. The "Manchurian Candidate" and "Around the World in Eighty Days" and "The Blue Dahlia" are his most famous works.
The writer here was WW2 vet, Richard Maibaum. Maibaum was best known as the writer of 13 different James Bond films, starting with Dr No.