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A carnival showman tries to keep Japanese spies from sabotaging the Panama Canal.
Journalist Drew Pearson relates the following story, cautioning that it must never happen again: In 1941, as Emperor Hirohito preaches peace, the armed forces of Japan prepare to sabotage strategic defense sites in the western United States. When reporter Jack Marsden informs C. H. Hildebrand, the chief of the foreign press service in Tokyo, that he has stumbled upon a list of Japanese espionage agents operating in the United States, Hildebrand directs him to deliver the information to Army intelligence in San Francisco. When the U.S. agents meet Marsden's boat in San Francisco, however, they are informed by Tanni, the cabin boy, that the reporter fell overboard during a storm. Marsden's death is followed by the news that Hildebrand has plunged to his death from a Tokyo hotel room window. Meanwhile, at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco, saboteurs Yamato and Kato arrange a meeting in Los Angeles to discuss obtaining information about the defense system of the Panama Canal. Kato then contacts Eddie Carter, an ex-soldier who likes easy money, to offer him the job of acquiring the plans. Eddie, who is now working as a carnival barker, feigns knowledge about the canal and agrees to meet Kato in a Los Angeles nightclub the following week. On the train to Los Angeles, Eddie meets Peggy Harrison, who pleads with him to give up his compartment so that she will have somewhere to sleep. Eddie obliges, and after he vacates his room, Peggy searches his luggage. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Eddie asks Peggy to join him at the nightclub. There he is greeted by Kato, who escorts him into a darkened room filled with saboteurs. Although he is unable to see their faces, Eddie notices a pin worn by the ringleader. After lying that his old army friend, Jimmy Scott, is an ordnance worker in Panama, Eddie is hired by the Japanese to buy plans of the canal from Jimmy. Upon returning home, Eddie is about to telephone army intelligence when he notices that he is being watched by Omaya, the apartment handyman. To avoid detection, Eddie proceeds to headquarters to confer in person. After telling the intelligence officers about the fictitious Jimmy Scott, Eddie agrees to infiltrate the ring. On his way home, he is picked up and taken to see Yamato, who shows him a flim clip of Omaya and Peggy searching his apartment. After declaring Omaya and Peggy to be American spies, Yamato tortures Omaya and orders Eddie to deliver Peggy to his office later that afternoon. Although Peggy, who is aware of Eddie's cover, insists that he follow Yamato's orders, Eddie refuses, and as they begin to argue, Peggy steps out into the street and is run down and apparently killed by a passing car. That night, Kato presents Eddie with a ticket to Panama and tells him that he will be contacted by Araki once he arrives. In his hotel room, Eddie is visited by a fellow spy calling himself Jimmy Scott, who warns him that a dictaphone and camera have been planted in the room. As Nazi agents listen to their conversation over the dictaphone, Eddie offers Jimmy money in exchange for military information. When Jimmy asks for time to consider the proposition, they agree to meet the following evening. The next night, as they drive in Jimmy's car, Jimmy gives Eddie obsolete plans of the canal and warns him that Araki intends to kill him once he has gained possession of the plans. Jimmy instructs Eddie to stall until his safe transportation to the U.S. can be arranged, and informs him that he will be signalled by a telegram from his "sister." Their discussion completed, Eddie and Jimmy proceed to an exclusive nightclub, where Jimmy sees Peggy, who is alive and posing as a Danish socialite. Overhearing her make a date to meet her escort, Kurt Gunther, a beauty salon owner and Nazi agent, at the beach the next day, Eddie follows her there and swims out to the raft on which she is sunning herself. There, Peggy explains that her accident was staged to fool Yamato and that she is in Panama to investigate Nazi relations with the Japanese. Their meeting is reported to Yamato by Nazi spies. Soon after, Eddie receives a telegram from his "sister," notifying him that their "mother" is near death. Feigning grief, Eddie informs Araki that he must return home immediately and books passage on a ship leaving that afternoon. Araki instructs the Nazis to kill Eddie on his way to the ship, but the Department of Immigration arrests them for improper documentation before they can complete their mission. While visiting Kurt's salon, Peggy overhears Araki tell Kurt that he has ordered Eddie to be killed. When a call notifies him of the arrest of the Nazi assassins, Araki decides to drive to the harbor and kill Eddie himself. To warn Eddie, Peggy borrows Kurt's car and, pretending to have car trouble, flags down his cab and directs him to the airport rather than the harbor. Upon returning to the beauty salon, Peggy is imprisoned in a steam room and interrogated by Araki and Kurt. Rather than betray her country, she perishes from suffocation. Upon arriving at the Los Angeles airport, Eddie is met by Kato, who takes him to a Japanese ship. Recognizing the pin worn by Tanni, the cabin boy, Eddie realizes that he has uncovered the identity of the spies' ringleader. As Tanni examines the plans, Eddie sneaks into his cabin and discovers a trunk filled with the plans of the saboteurs' targets. After affirming that he is a lieutenant commander in the Japanese Navy, Tanni taunts Eddie with news of Peggy's death. Enraged, Eddie attacks Tanni, and in a furious struggle, seizes the Japanese's gun and shoots him, only to be then shot by Tanni's men. Returning to the present, Drew Pearson concludes that "Eddie died in an undeclared war...a war against underground enemies that never begins and never ends."
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: week of 24 Apr 1945|
|Release Date:||1945||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (RCA Sound System)||Production Co:||RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.|
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Betrayal from the East
A low-budget propaganda film from 1945 about Japan's spying and sabotage efforts in the US before WWII, it actually strikes a strong chord with...
A must see for all Americans
Great film, all Americans should see this movie. It relates to what has happended in the past and what is once again happening during this time in our...