Rogues' Regiment


1h 26m 1948

Brief Synopsis

After World War II, ex-soldiers trickle into French Saigon to join the Foreign Legion, among them American Whit Corbett and German Carl Reicher. Is Reicher really SS war criminal Martin Bruner, and is Corbett after him? Art dealer Van Ratten and nightclub chanteuse Lili Maubert are also more than they seem. Action scenes include anti-guerilla jungle warfare.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

At the end of World War II, American intelligence agent Whit Corbett is assigned to locate the last remaining high-ranking Nazi official at large, Martin Bruener, of whom no photos exist. Tracking Bruener to French Indochina, Whit plans to go undercover in the French Foreign Legion, a favored retreat of former Nazis. On the train to Saigon he meets Mark Van Ratten, a German masquerading as a Dutch antique dealer, and Bruener, who claims to be Carl Reicher, a former Wehrmacht private. In Saigon, Van Ratten, suspecting Bruener's true affiliation, warns him that the Legion is ferreting out those enlistees suspected of SS connections and sends Bruener to a man who can remove his tell-tale SS tattoo. Later, at a bar frequented by legionnaires, Bruener runs into his former lieutenant, Erich Heindorf, and warns him not to reveal his identity. At the same club, Whit meets singer Lili Maubert, a French agent, who puts him in contact with his local superior, Colonel Mauclaire. Mauclaire gives Whit a photo of Nazi officers sitting with Bruener, whose back is to the camera, and in the military archives, Whit matches one of the men in the picture to legionnaire Heindorf. As the local revolutionaries are continually mounting guerrilla attacks against the French, both Whit and Bruener are accepted into the Legion without question. Meanwhile, Lili discovers that Van Ratten sells equipment and rifles to the guerrillas and helps plan attacks. When Whit learns that Heindorf wishes a transfer, he suspects Bruener may be nearby posing a threat and plans to interrogate Heindorf. Before he can do so, the legionnaires are assigned a mission during which they are ambushed and surrounded. When Heindorf attempts to flee, Bruener shoots him in the back, and the severely wounded Heindorf is carried off by the guerrillas. Whit arranges to get into the guerrilla camp to speak to Heindorf. Realizing that Whit is closing in, Bruener goes to Van Ratten for help in securing a passport and transportation out of Indochina. As payment Bruener offers part of the contents of a chest of tools made entirely of platinum. When Van Ratten reveals that he has recognized Bruener, Bruener kills him and attempts to escape. With Heindorf's confirmation of Bruener's identity, Whit intervenes and, after a bitter fight, has Bruener arrested. Back in Germany, Bruener is tried and executed, while Whit returns to his home state of Nebraska with Lili.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Ah, you're much too smart for a beautiful girl. Don't you have any fun at all?
- Whit Corbett
Perhaps. In a quiet way.
- Lili Maubert
I can be very quiet.
- Whit Corbett
Good.
- Lili Maubert
Then you won't make any noise on the way out.
- Lili Maubert

Trivia

Notes

The film's opening scene showing the cremation of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun was re-created from photographs made by art director Gabriel Scognamillo while he was with Army intelligence in Berlin and from a description by Hitler's chauffeur. Newsreel footage of the Nuremberg trial was used in the film's opening with a voice-over narration outlining the trial, verdicts and sentences. The character of "Carl Reicher/Martin Bruener" and the premise of Rogues' Regiment were inspired by the three-year search by Allied intelligence officers for Martin Bormann, the third highest-ranking Nazi official at the close of the war, about whom little was known and whose escape or death was never confirmed.
       Production notes indicate that actor Charles Boyer allowed use of his French Research Foundation files for background data in the film. A March 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Miklos Rozsa was to compose and conduct the score. Additonal news items list actors Louis Jean Heydt and Frederic Tozere as cast members, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. This film marked the first time that actor Stephen McNalley was billed under that name. He previously had been billed as Horace McNalley.