I Was an American Spy (1951)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama, War


I Was an American Spy (1951) Poster

During WW2, an American woman posing as an Italian cabaret owner spies on the Japanese in Manila but becomes the target of a suspicious Japanese intelligence officer.


6.8/10
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  • Ann Dvorak in I Was an American Spy (1951)
  • Ann Dvorak and Gene Evans in I Was an American Spy (1951)
  • Gene Evans in I Was an American Spy (1951)
  • Gene Evans in I Was an American Spy (1951)
  • Claire Phillips in I Was an American Spy (1951)
  • Lisa Ferraday in I Was an American Spy (1951)

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10 August 2011 | blanche-2
The Thrilla from Manila
Ann Dvorak is real-life spy Claire Phillips in "I Was an American Spy," a 1951 film also starring Gene Evans (known to baby boomers as the father in My Friend Flicka on TV) and with a prologue and an appearance at the end of the film by General Mark Clark.

Though the movie takes the usual dramatic license, it does tell the true story of Claire Phillips, a woman living in Manila with her daughter when the war broke out. After she becomes a widow, Phillips helps the Americans by changing her identity and starting a gentlemen's club in Manila, which becomes popular with the Japanese soldiers. From her club, she provides information, food, boots, and medicine to the soldiers and prisoners of war (although if prisoners of war were mentioned in the film, I missed it). Her code name is "High Pockets" because she would put notes in her brassiere.

If Claire Phillips did a third of what Ann Dvorak portrays in this film -- and I think actually she did much more -- one can see why she was given the Medal of Freedom. I do think the beginning, with her following her husband's battalion around is probably a little fanciful. I mean, walking around in the jungle by yourself - is anyone that foolhardy.

Ann Dvorak is wonderful as Claire. She portrays the woman's bravery, finesse, sophistication, coolness, pluck, and her fear and suffering. An underrated actress who usually played supporting roles and retired from the screen after marrying her third husband in 1952, Dvorak shows that Warner Brothers should have given her better movies.

I thought this was a very good, compelling story of a courageous woman who served our country.

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