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An Allied sympathizer discovers his twin brother is a Nazi spy.
Kindly German-American bookstore owner and stamp collector Otto Becker is rejoicing in a recent acquisition given to him by his friend, Prof. Jim Sterling, when his twin brother, German consul Baron Hugo von Detner pays him a visit. The brothers have not seen each other since Otto fled Nazi Germany over eight years before. Although Otto tells Hugo that he has happily become an American citizen, Hugo suggests that the bookshop would make an excellent message exchange site for German agents. Otto angrily refuses Hugo's suggestion, but when Hugo reminds Otto that he entered the country illegally, then reveals that Otto's long-time assistant, Miss Harper, is a Nazi operative, Otto knows that he has no choice. Some time later, when Otto hears a radio news report about a bombed ship and realizes that his shop was used to relay information to the saboteurs, he determines to inform the police. He tries to give a secret letter to Jim, but Miss Harper observes him and that night Hugo announces that Jim has had an "accident." Hugo draws a gun on Otto, but in an ensuing struggle, Hugo is killed. Because there are several Nazi agents waiting outside, Otto decides to shave his beard, exchange clothes with Hugo and assume his identity. Otto then goes to Hugo's apartment, where he meets dress designer Kaaren De Relle, who apparently is one of Hugo's operatives. The next morning, Fritz, Hugo's butler and an old family servant, recognizes a scar on Otto's shoulder, but says nothing. Meanwhile, Otto orders Ludwig, the consulate chauffeur, to stop the car at a cigar store and there uses a public telephone to anonymously tip the police about the two agents responsible for the sabotage. Otto then goes to Hugo's luncheon appointment and encounters Arnold Milbar, a Nazi posing as an American businessman named Frederick Williams. During lunch, Kaaren arrives and makes a point of snubbing "Hugo" when someone offers to introduce them. That evening, Otto goes to see Brenner, the head of the local Gestapo, and learns of the arrest of the two agents. Brenner and Milbar suspect a turncoat and suggest that it is Kaaren, whom Hugo had previously labeled "reluctant." Later, at the apartment, Fritz confronts Otto and explains that he hated Hugo's politics and wants to help Otto. Kaaren then arrives with information that is supposed to be passed on to Brenner, the name of a ship, the S.S. Farrington . While she is still in the apartment, Otto calls Brenner to tell him the name of the ship and say that Kaaren is absolutely reliable. Kaaren is startled that Hugo would help her and begins to soften toward him. The next evening, while Nazi agents plant explosives on the Farrington , Fritz, who knows that Kaaren is being forced to work for the Nazis to save her family, arranges for her to dine with Otto. Without revealing himself, Otto tells Kaaren that he will help her, but says that first he has a job to finish. The two then take a moonlit drive, listen to the radio and enjoy the music of Felix Mendelssohn, a Jewish composer banned by the Nazis. A few days later, Joe Aiello, who is one of Brenner's hired thugs, and trying to extort more money, inadvertently reveals to Otto that the Farrington has been rigged to explode as it passes through the Panama Canal. Otto then sends Kurt Richten, Hugo's assistant, to Brenner to report Aiello and mails papers containing the names of all Nazi agents, except Kaaren, to the FBI. He also secretly calls the police to have them stop the Farrington and arrest Aiello. Brenner and Milbar find Aiello first, but in a gunfight, Brenner and Milbar are killed, and Aiello is wounded just as the police arrive. When Miss Harper and Richten learn about Aiello's arrest, they wait for "Hugo" at Otto's shop. Because Otto's canary happily sings when he arrives, Miss Harper suspects him, so Richten goes to the consulate to investigate. There he discovers that the information on the agents is missing and telephones Miss Harper to confirm her suspicions, but the police have already come to arrest her. The next day, the other agents are apprehended and the consulate is closed. Richten then goes to Otto, threatening to expose Kaaren to the police. Nothing will dissuade Richten until Otto offers to accompany him back to Germany as a hostage to ensure Kaaren and her family's safety. After Otto makes Fritz promise to look after Kaaren but not reveal his secret, he boards a ship bound for Germany, and is humiliated by jeers from the people at the dock. As he catches his last glimpse of America, Otto is despondent, but gains strength as the ship passes the Statue of Liberty.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1942||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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Startling Change of Character
Veidt's performance is quite startling, not so much as the Nazi sympathizer brother, but his pro-American, gentle twin. He plays both roles remarkably...