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A federal agent tries to track down the Communist spies behind a security leak.
An anonymous telephone tip to the Boston division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation sends agents trailing Robert Martin, who may be involved with a spy ring. The agents film Martin covertly giving documents to a woman, before making his way to the harbor, where he boards a Polish freighter. Moments later another man, Michael Dorndoff, who is dressed like Martin, leaves the freighter and is detained by FBI agents. Inspector James Belden is assigned to head the investigation. He discovers that Dorndoff is not Martin, who had been under the Bureau's scrutiny since 1939 when he joined a subversive political group that indoctrinated him abroad and brought him back to be a "sleeper" agent, awaiting activation. Belden releases Dorndoff, certain that he will eventually lead the Bureau to other more important contacts. While searching for the woman to whom Martin gave the documents, Belden learns that Alex Laschenkov, a well-known Russian agent, may be involved in the Martin spy ring. Unknown to Belden, Laschenkov arrived in Boston on the freighter that Martin boarded and chastised Martin for working too slowly to learn the details behind a secret U.S. government defense project, code named "Falcon," and extort information from Falcon's top mathematician, Dr. Albert Kafer, working in Boston's Montrose Laboratories. Despite Martin's protests, Laschenkov orders him to return to Russia and takes over the Falcon mission. Laschenkov then meets with undercover agent and florist Luther Danzig, to make contact with the ring's inside agent at Montrose Labs, Nicholas Wilbon. Laschenkov expresses frustration with Danzig's cautious approach, declaring that tentativeness led to Martin's failure. Laschenkov secures false naturalization papers from another member of the ring, funeral director Helmuth, then meets Wilbon's wife, Elaine, another highly placed spy, and later, Gino and Millie, whose cover is running a photography shop. The next day Millie approaches Albert in an outdoor café and presents him with a photo of his son Samuel, who is being held in the Russian sector of Berlin. Albert asks about Martin, but Millie informs him that in exchange for his son's release, Albert must supply his Falcon study results. Albert contacts the FBI, and explains to Belden that Samuel, a scientist, was kidnapped in Berlin. Albert further explains that Martin contacted him, offering to help and claiming to be a representative of a refugee association. Belden asks Albert to pass on phony information to the spy ring, but Albert hesitates, concerned that doing so may harm Samuel. Two days later, Albert receives instructions to meet Millie to give her the information, and he informs Belden. On the night of the exchange, Albert, under hidden FBI surveillance, is picked up by a cab driven by Vincent Foss. He assures Albert that Samuel is unharmed and that his son has asked his father to cooperate and write out his theorems. Albert decides to go along with Belden's request, while the FBI has Foss followed for several days. Then, Foss picks up Albert at another prearranged sight for the papers. After dropping the scientist off, Foss retrieves Millie to give her the information, then abruptly informs her that he wants out of the spy ring. Later, Millie and Gino microfilm Albert's documents, recorded by a hidden FBI camera, and within thirty-six hours, the documents are on their way to Moscow. At home, Foss frets with his wife Rita about his espionage involvement, which stemmed from a youthful flirtation with Communism that he has long regretted. Rita admits to having tipped the FBI to the ring and pleads with her husband to turn himself in. A few days later, Danzig reads in the newspaper that Foss has committed suicide. Meanwhile, Albert celebrates at Montrose when his theorems are proven. Wilbon learns that Albert is to dictate all his notes for the Falcon scientists in Washington, D.C., so there will be no written copies. Albert informs Belden that he received word from the spy ring that they want all of his results, but that he refused to cooperatee until he heard from Samuel. Millie, Elaine and Wilbon are sent to Washington, but Laschenkov secretly sends Danzig to give him reports on their activities. In Washington, Wilbon is part of the Montrose group who have brought Albert's tapes to Falcon's scientists and as they listen, he surreptitiously makes a duplicate recording. Later, Elaine picks Wilbon up and they are followed by the FBI to a meeting place, where Elaine gives Millie the tapes. After the exchange, FBI agents arrest all three spies as Danzig watches. That evening back in Boston, Albert receives a brief phone call from Samuel in Berlin urging his father to cooperate, but the next morning Laschenkov has underground agents kidnap the scientist from his home. Later, Belden learns that Samuel has been located and moved to West Berlin safely. The Bureau turns back to watching the movements of Dorndoff, whose meeting with Danzig is filmed and studied to discern the plans to take Albert out of the country from a small fishing harbor off the New Hampshire coast. After ordering the arrest of all the known members of the spy ring, the Bureau uses a Navy cruiser to intercept the escaping yacht. Upon arresting Laschenkov and the remaining spies, Belden gives Albert the good news that Samuel is on a plane bound for Boston.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 28 May 1952|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
A Louis de Rochemont Production
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||RD-DR Corp.|
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