Although billed as a film noir in The Film Noir Guide, this is a pretty straight forward police-procedural with few nighttime shots.
The film was sanctioned by none other than J. Edgar Hoover and is more-or-less a puff piece lauding the FBI’s success in rooting out domestic espionage. First we get a long, narrated prelude outlining the FBI’s unpublicized work against foreign agents before the war.
Then the film gets down to the specifics of a case in which a young engineering graduate is recruited by the Nazi’s and set up by the FBI as a mole. After training in Heidelberg, he returns to the States with FBI-doctored credentials allowing him unfettered access to German agents. His U.S. controllers are skeptical but have nothing against him and he has at his disposal both the money to pay informants and the means of broadcasting secrets back to Germany. In reality, all his communications go direct to the FBI which plants disinformation before forwarding them.
The FBI’s big break comes when he is given crucial atomic bomb secrets to relay. Can the FBI find the spy within the atomic bomb lab and foil the plot before their mole’s identity is discovered? With Lloyd Nolan as the FBI agent and Wiliam Eythe as the mole.
There is nothing too inspiring here. It plays as a well-made TV episode.
Charles G. Booth won the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story for this film.
Clip – opening