(director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: Sy Bartlett/John Monks, Jr.; cinematographer: Norbert F. Brodin; editor: Harmon Jones; music: David Buttolph; cast: James Cagney (Bob Sharkey), Annabella (Suzanne de Bouchard), Richard Conte (Bill O’Connell), Frank Latimore (Jeff Lassiter), Walter Abel (Charles Gibson), Karl Malden (Flight Sergeant), Sam Jaffe (Mayor Galimard), Melville Cooper (Pappy Simpson), E.G. Marshall (Emile), Red Buttons (Dispatcher); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louis de Rochemont; 20th Century Fox; 1947)

“A crisp WW 11 spy thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

13 Rue Madeleine is a crisp WW11 spy thriller directed by Henry Hathaway and co-scripted by Sy Bartlett and John Monks, Jr.. It’s shot in a semi-documentary style in the same way as Hathaway’s 1945 thriller The House on 92nd Street, depicting O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) agents trying to locate a Nazi weapon site in France. The excellent cast is headed by James Cagney as Bob Sharkey, an OSS instructor in the American Military Intelligence. Reportedly Rex Harison turned down the Cagney role.

13 Rue Madeleine is the address of the Gestapo during World War II in Paris.

Cagney learns that one of his new students is a German spy, placed there to uncover the identities of new agents and to learn what operations America has in Europe. While training the new agents, Cagney must uncover the spy and prepare them for the new mission. Upon graduating the new agents from the school and after one of his men is murdered from within, Cagney and the four new agents must locate a Nazi rocket site in France while keeping the Gestapo from learning their plans. Despite uncovering the German mole who was using the alias Bill O’Connell (Conte) and feeding him false info through agent Gibson (Abel), the mole outwits them and escapes. Cagney now must risk his life to pursue the agent and save the mission, as he parachutes into France just before D-Day. Green American spy Jeff Lassiter had already inadvertently informed the mole that the Americans intend to invade Normandy, not Holland.

The film masterly blends in authentic newsreel footage of the O.S.S, which moves the film into being not just entertaining but of historical importance. It sets an appropriately dark mood, allowing the bleak narrative to seem even more realistic.

REVIEWED ON 6/13/2004 GRADE: B     https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/