The Black Parachute


1h 8m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
Mission Thirty-Six
Release Date
May 4, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,895ft

Synopsis

King Stephen, the proud leader of a small Balkan country, is taken into "protective custody" by General Von Bodenbach after the German army invades his country. Hoping to stop the Underground's acts of sabotage against the Germans, Von Bodenbach instigates rumors that King Stephen has aligned with the Axis and gets a voice impersonator to begin a series of radio broadcasts, supposedly by the king, urging the country's citizens to cooperate in "establishing a new order." The broadcasts are received with anger and despair throughout Europe, and Underground leaders Kurt Vandan and Erik Dundeen, who have been in hiding, decide that the king must be rescued. They appeal to American journalist Michael Kaligor Lindley for help, saying that the king must refute the charges of collaboration in order to bolster the morale of all occupied countries. Michael, who is about to leave Europe and return to America, at first refuses, but Vandan and Dundeen point out that they are too well known in their country to carry out the covert operation. Michael's loyalty is divided, for although his father was American and he was reared in the United States, his mother was King Stephen's niece, and he was born in her country. Knowing the king to be an honorable man, Michael realizes that he would not make these broadcasts voluntarily, and so vows to free him. The Underground supplies him with a pilot and plane, and using a black parachute to help avoid detection, Michael jumps into occupied territory. Anti-aircraft searchlights pick him out despite his black parachute, and German soldiers rapidly come after him. Michael is found by native rebel Joseph and his daughter Olga, who distrust Michael and disavow any knowledge of the Underground. Because of the pursuing Germans, Joseph and Olga are forced to take Michael to the cellar, where the Underground newspaper is printed, and there leader Nicholas tests him to prove his loyalty to the cause. Nicholas is satisfied with Michael's response, and soon thereafter, the group assails a convoy of German cars traveling along a country road. Separating himself from the others, Michael kills a fleeing German officer, Captain Mir. Michael takes Mir's clothes and papers and even shoots himself in the arm to match one of the bullet holes in Mir's uniform. Michael then travels to Stephen's castle, from which Mir, who was the impersonator, was to give another radio broadcast. At the castle, Michael fools Von Bodenbach and his assistant, Colonel Pavlec, although singer Marya Orloff, Von Bodenbach's mistress, is suspicious. That night, Michael succeeds in finding the king, who is shocked when Michael informs him about the radio broadcasts, but is reassured by Michael's promises of imminent rescue. The next day, Michael is surprised to see Olga, who is working at the castle as a maid, and quickly explains the situation to her. She leaves to relay the information to Nicholas, and while the Underground begins laying the groundwork for the rescue, Michael is forced to continue his impersonation of Mir. While riding with Marya, Michael learns that she was childhood friends with Mir and therefore knows of his deceit. Marya asserts that she will not reveal Michael's true identity if he allows her to escape with him, and when Marya proves her ruthlessness by killing the soldier accompanying them, Michael is forced to acquiese to her demands. Matters grow more complicated when Joseph is captured, and in order to protect his disguise, Michael cannot save him from being shot. Olga is devastated by her father's death but realizes that she must continue his work, and that night, helps Nicholas and the others to free Stephen from the castle. Michael is trapped and about to be captured, however, when Marya helps him to escape. Michael takes her with him to the secret cellar, where Nicholas and Olga have hidden the king. Marya's duplicity is fully revealed when the German soldiers who have followed her and Michael at her command begin to pound on the door. Marya attempts to shoot King Stephen, but Olga bravely jumps in front of him and is wounded before Nicholas can kill Marya. King Stephen assures the dying Olga that he will remember her courage and sacrifice forever, then escapes with Michael and Nicholas. Later, the king gives a stirring speech on the radio, assuring his listeners that he has not given up and exhorting them to fight on until the occupying forces have been defeated.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mission Thirty-Six
Release Date
May 4, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,895ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Mission Thirty-Six. Neil Reagan, who played a news commentator, is the brother of Ronald Reagan.