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BRITISH INTELLIGENCE (aka: Enemy Agent) (director: Terry O. Morse; screenwriters: Lee Katz/from the play Three Faces East by Anthony Paul Kelly; cinematographer: Sidney Hickox; editor: Thomas Pratt; music: Heinz Roemheld; cast: Boris Karloff (Valdar), Margaret Lindsay (Helene Von Lorbeer, aka Frances Hautry), Bruce Lester (Frank Bennett), Leonard Mudie (Colonel Yeats), Holmes Herbert (Arthur Bennett), Austin Fairman (George Bennett), Lester Matthews (Henry Thompson), Clarence Derwent (Milkman), Louise Brien (Miss Risdon), Sidney Bracey (Crowder); Runtime: 62; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bryan Foy; Warner Brothers; 1940)
“A top-of-the-line B-film spy drama, filmed during WWII but set during WWI.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A top-of-the-line B-film spy drama, filmed during WWII but set during WWI. It’s a splendid remake of the 1930 Three Faces East, that writer Lee Katz and director Terry Morse based on the play Three Faces East by Anthony Paul Kelly.

Boris Karloff is Valder, the creepy looking but trusted French refugee butler of British cabinet minister Arthur Bennett (Holmes Herbert). Valder might be a German spy, but is posing as a British spy. Also sent to the Bennett household as a guest is Frances Hautry (Margaret Lindsay), who is posing as a German spy but might be a British spy. She was previously seen as nurse Helene von Lorbeer, working in a French hospital to treat Frank Bennett (Bruce Lester). He’s the Air Force pilot son of Arthur, who was shot down in his plane and nursed back to health by Helene before she mysteriously left his bedside for good after kissing the sleeping patient. Helene reported to Berlin, where she was assigned by the German authorities to infiltrate the Bennett household and send back war plans. As Frances Hautry, she gains access to the household through the help of Brit Henry Thompson. He’s a friend of the Bennett’s, who tells them a sad story of how the Germans abused her family and she escaped. The sympathetic Bennett willingly puts Frances up as a houseguest. Once ensconced in the house, Frances makes contact with Valder through a secret password and work together as German spies.

Arthur is in the dark about all the spy activity taking place under his roof but Colonel Yeats (Leonard Mudie), the head of British Intelligence, is setting a trap to catch the unknown master German spy Karl Schiller who has been a thorn in the side of the Brits. The tension and secret of who is the real German spy isn’t uncovered until the third act, which is set around a German zeppelin raid of London and where the real German spy is attempting to bomb the Bennett household as they are holding an unofficial cabinet meeting.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”