The House on 92nd Street
Reviewed in February 2010
Director: Henry Hathaway. Cast: William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Leo G. Carroll, Lydia St. Clair, Alfred Linder, Renee Carson, Gene Lockhart, John McKee, Bruno Wick, Harro Meller, Harry Bellaver, Charles Wagenheim, Elisabeth Neumann-Viertel, William Post, Jr., voice of Reed Hadley. Screenplay: Barré Lyndon, Charles G. Booth, and John Monks, Jr. (based on a screen story by Charles G. Booth).

Photo © 1945 20th Century Fox, c/o DVDBeaver
Wasn't prepared for the blare of clarion, patriotic music; FBI story that couldn't be told before Hiroshima; Compelte cooperation of FBI, original locales used, all characters except leading players impersonated by real FBI employees; chest-thumping swell as camera pans over to the cornerstone plaque that says "Federal Bureau of Investigation"; "Vigilant, tireless, imPLAYcable - the most silent service of the United States in peace or war is the Federal Bureau of Investigation"; 2,000 - 15,000 staff increase; modern techniques of crime detection - 1way mirror!; "For war is thought, and thought is information"; interpolated actual footage of subversive activity for German embassy; "the arrogant," "pompous," and "suave"; Oliver Stone-ish!; "Germany was recruiting American Nazis for its espoinage service!"; A brilliant young student "not far from Columbus, Ohio" - of German descent - sucking in stomach playing collegiate swimmer; United 93-ish; 7 million sets of fingerprints - HUGE hangar full of typists and fingerprint processors; secret message - Process 97 (the Bomb); = 20,000 tons of TNT; microforms in watch - watch repairman, customs officer; 92nd & Madison, Elsa's Gowns - The House on 92nd Street; only WE lacks a strong German accent; broad-nosed, cow-faced Johanna Schmidt; Dietrich fast messages to Hamburg, but also beamed to FBI interception counterespionage station; (flattened by marchy music); Pearl Harbor offscreen, series of teletypes and telephone switchboarders; excitingly shot and edited but broadly written and directed scene where drunken Gus gives up way too much info about the agents aboard the Queen Mary headed for Australia; Surveillance even on the most trusted individuals working on Process 97; Lloyd Nolan skeptical, awed, or dumbstruck re: intercepted message, memory artist while WE is in jail; Lange's Book Shop on 59th St; keeping 14 games of chess going is amazing - "Yeah, but it ain't box office"; Shiny, spatty shoes of Mr. Christopher; SH, via LGC, receives original orders and learns that WE is *forbidden* to contact any other agents; ominously, a leather-gloved hand arrives knocking on the door just after - can't say the foley effect sounds like a glove, though; They determine that radio coils couldn't possibly transmit across the Atlantic; Especially good: Lockart as memory artist/info smuggler Charles Ogden Roper, Lloyd Nolan as Klein, Alfred Linder as skeptical German contact Adolf Klein; Signe's got a truth serum!; FBI whispery convergence on the house just as WE is being drugged and grilled, and Johanna wants to shoot him; Signe's got a gun *MIT* silencer; SH wants to burn everything and tries to flee in her masculine drag; when she slips back in from fire-escape, HM confuses her with FBI and shoots her dead; newsreel/March of Time footage of criminals, even if they have ntohing to do with what we've just wtached, is rather galvanizing B

Academy Award Nominations and Winners:
Best Original Story: Charles G. Booth

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