Cast & Crew
As Royal Air Force flyer Jimmy Thorne and pilot Roger are returning from a night photo reconnaissance flight over Germany, Jimmy tells Roger that he lived in that area ten years earlier, when his father was American consul to the region. The flyers encounter a German cargo plane and shoot it down, but Jimmy is forced to parachute from the damaged plane so that Roger can get the important photos back to England. After Jimmy lands near the wreck of the cargo plane he comes across a dead German aviator, takes his uniform and burns his own. He then helps another Luftwaffe officer, who has survived the crash, but is near death. Believing that Jimmy is a German officer, the pilot entrusts him with a personal note from Field Marshall Irwin Rommel to Adolf Hitler, upon which the entire North African campaign depends. As Jimmy takes the letter, the officer notices a purple V tattoo on his left arm and realizes Jimmy is not German. Jimmy leaves the officer for dead and heads to the nearby village of Diederfeld, where an old acqauintance, Professor Thomas Forster, lives with his daughter Katti and son Paul. Initially the Forsters, who chafe at living under Nazi rule, are wary of Jimmy and claim not to remember him. After Jimmy recalls several friendly incidents with Katti and Paul, though, the Forsters are convinced of his identity and welcome him. Although Paul is of military age, he cannot serve in either the army or the German resistance because of a lame foot, yet he is particularly determined to help Jimmy. Meanwhile the German officer who gave Jimmy Rommel's message is found alive near the wreck. The officer tells state police officer Johann Keller about Jimmy's tattoo, but dies before he can reveal Rommel's message. The Forsters soon hear a radio announcement about the search for an RAF pilot in a German uniform and having a purple V tattoo on his arm. Jimmy explains that the V bonded several of his friends together in their fight for victory. Realizing Jimmy can now no longer safely get out on his own, Paul and Katti volunteer to take the message out of the country, but the professor says it is too dangerous. Katti suggests dumping the German uniform by the river to suggest a suicide, but Jimmy points out that without a body as evidence the police would never accept it. When everyone retires for the evening, Paul brands his left arm with a V and takes the German uniform. The next morning a farmer takes a German patrol to the river where Paul, dressed in the uniform, hides. After he is shot, a radio announncement goes out that the British spy has been killed. Katti, the professor and Jimmy are stunned when they realize what has happened, but because Paul has left his identity papers for Jimmy, he and Katti prepare to go to Zurich, posing as brother and sister. The night before they leave, Jimmy removes his tattoo with acid. Keller is suspicious of Paul and the autopsy reveals his lame foot and the newness of his tattoo. Keller has Paul identified and goes to the Forster home to force the professor and Katti to divulge Jimmy's whereabouts. Jimmy kills Keller and he and Katti begin their trip. At a final border check, a suspicious officer examines Jimmy closely. A staff car with an officer approaches and it is the professor dressed in Keller's uniform. He "arrests" Jimmy and Katti and takes them to an airfield, pretending to take them directly to Berlin. When the professor's real identity is discovered, he holds off several soldiers before being killed, allowing Jimmy and Katti time to escape on a waiting plane. When Jimmy and Katti land in England, Roger identifies Jimmy which, authenticates the important message. Jimmy and Katti decide to marry.
Mrs. Pepi Sinoff
Although reviews list John Archer's character as "Joe Thorne," in the film he is called "Jimmy." An Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that Republic purchased newsreel footage of German Field Marshall Irwin Rommel's retreat from Africa for use in the film, but it is not included in the released print. The Purple V marked German stage star Fritz Kortner's American film debut. Actors John Archer and Mary McLeod were borrowed from M-G-M for the production.