It is the final stages of World War II and Germany is severely weakened, but will not surrender. The Allies come up with a new plan which is quite risky and radical. They want to use German POWs as spies. The plan is led by Colonel Devlin (Gary Merrill – The Frogmen, Where the Sidewalk Ends) and put into motion by Lieutenant Rennick (Richard Basehart – Being There, Moby Dick). Tiger (Hans Christian Blech – The Longest Day), who will do anything for money, and Happy (Oskar Werner – The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Voyage of the Damned), who is disillusioned about the war, are sent in to gather information on the Gestapo. Happy is even parachuted into Bulgaria to find out where a German armoured unit is. It becomes quite tense when the Americans have to wait and see if former Nazis will now help betray their fellow countrymen.
Oddly enough I was not really familiar with this film which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1951 before seeing it. It is a solid film by director Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit, Anastasia) with much tension. The film, which was based on true facts, constantly causes us to question what it meant during this tumultuous period to be German. It also examines what we mean by loyalty to one's country. The examination of the ethics of war lead to a film that is quite anti-war in its message. There is no shying away from the horror that was World War II. Litvak shot the film on location and there are many beautiful scenes. Interesting film shot almost right after the end of World War II.
-Fox Flix: trailers for Back Door to Hell, Destination Gobi, You're in the Navy Now, and Immortal Sergeant
-Movietone News: Anatole Litvak receives award and Hall of Fame sidewalk