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An undercover agent investigates atrocities at a Korean P.O.W. camp.
In North Korea, American soldiers captured by the North Korean army are marched to a prisoner-of-war camp, run by the Communist Chinese. The men are angered to discover that their barracks chief, Sgt. John Rand, has become a collaborator, or "Progressive," in order to receive preferential treatment. Shortly after the men's arrival, Father Francis Dolan visits and gives them a smuggled bar of soap. A couple of days later, during a lecture, soldier "Arkansas" mocks the chief of propaganda, and John informs on him. Arkansas is promptly sent to solitary, or the "icebox," as it is known among the men. Corp. Brady, already outraged by John's attitude, chafes over his betrayal of Arkansas. Brady and the other new arrivals are then surprised to witness the appearance of Tanya Clayton, a former ballerina and the wife of camp brain-washing expert and American turncoat Clayton. One afternoon, John meets Brady loitering alone in the barracks, and delivers several passwords, revealing that he is the intelligence operative Brady has orders to contact. John discloses that he is near to being accepted by the camp leaders as a complete Progressive, and, as such, will have access to proof of camp atrocities and Soviet involvement in the war, vital to the United Nation peace-talks. In the camp commandant's office, John is questioned about his political beliefs and asked if he would be willing to make radio broadcasts reiterating his beliefs. Upon declaring the U.S. political system corrupt and agreeing to make the broadcasts, John is awarded with private quarters. Later, at another clandestine meeting with Brady, John reveals that he intends to use Tanya because Clayton was a former correspondent for an American Communist newspaper and likely to have the vital documents needed by Intelligence. John sits in on a grilling of several soldiers, one of whom, "Doc" Johnson, an African American, infuriates the camp leaders by declaring that despite America's social flaws, he would never abandon his country. Doc is beaten and placed in the icebox, and John is blamed. Later, Dolan meets with Clayton and reveals himself as an undercover Communist operator intent on learning the identity of the Intelligence spy inside the camp. As John now resides outside of the camp grounds, he and Brady correspond secretly, coding their messages by punching pin holes in newspapers that are delivered between them. Upon making his first radio broadcast, John also sends significant information to U.S. Intelligence by using several code words and phrases. John then visits Tanya and implies romantic interest in her, but she initially resists, having grown disillusioned with the political machinations of her husband. Meanwhile, Brady and the men are stunned when an easy-going, longtime prisoner, Pop, abruptly attempts an escape but is captured and placed in the icebox. Arkansas and Doc are released and Doc tells Brady he believes that there is a camp informer as Pop revealed that the camp guard had known of his escape plan. When Dolan then arrives and speaks of Pop's torture and the possibility of an informant, Brady grows suspicious. John continues visiting Tanya and makes attempts to unearth Clayton's papers. During a severe air raid attack, Clayton's safe is revealed and Tanya realizes that John has been using her and grows angry. John assures Tanya that he has truly developed feelings for her, but she orders him to leave. At the camp, meanwhile, the bombing has destroyed the radio tower and the icebox. Attempting to flee, Pop is shot as the men watch. The next day, during a camp ballgame, Dolan notices Brady leave a rolled newspaper in the library pick-up box and later recovers it. He discovers the pinholes, which spell out the word "priest," and goes to the camp library to search for more papers. John discovers him there, but Dolan evades his questions. Tanya then summons John and agrees to give him her husband's private papers after she copies them. Upon leaving the Claytons', John finds Dolan in his jeep, waiting for a ride back to camp. On the road, Dolan draws a gun, confronts John as the spy and admits he is not the real Father Dolan. John succeeds in throwing Dolan off balance and the men tumble into the road, fighting until John strangles Dolan. Back at camp, John informs Brady that as the radio tower is destroyed, he must hand deliver the documents, and the two agree to stage a phony camp yard brawl to cover Brady's escape. Meanwhile, Clayton has discovered that Tanya has tampered with his papers, and when she refuses to reveal her accomplice, forces her to play Russian roulette, until John and Brady arrive and John kills Clayton. Brady then dresses in Clayton's clothes and uses his identification papers to leave the country with Tanya. The publication of the documents hasten the truce talks, and within weeks, a cease-fire is agreed upon and the prisoners are set free. The Army offers John an opportunity to be repatriated, even playing a recorded plea from his mother, but, knowing more intelligence work is needed in the battle against Communism, John declares he does not wish to return to America. Before being taken back into North Korea, John sees Tanya and Brady and promises them that he will return soon.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1955||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Recording)||Production Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp., Yof Corp.|
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