Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Spy in Black (1939)



“That medal ribbon. I don't seem to recognize it. What is it?”
“The Iron Cross... Second Class.”
“Second Class... then you must be a prisoner of war?”
“No. You are.”

            The Spy in Black has a very interesting plot. Unfortunately I do not know if it was just me or if it was the film itself but I had a bit of a hard time following it. I got the main idea the details just troubled me a bit.
            The film takes place during World War I in 1917. A German navy captain named Hardt (Conrad Veidt) is given orders to report for duty. He has just gotten back from a long assignment. Hardt is sent to meet a female spy on England.
            In England a school teacher named Anne Barnett is about to travel abroad. She is traveling with an old lady and her driver. The driver and the old lady turn out to be working for the Germans. The old lady knocks Anne out and the driver takes over Anne’s identity.
            Hardt has taken his U-Boat to the shores of a small British town called Longhope. He takes a small boat to shore with his motorcycle on board. The spy as Anne is staying at a hotel where Hardt is to meet her. She keeps the light on and the blinds open. A guard keeping patrol on the hotel grounds comes to her to tell her to turn off the light it could make it easy for the Germans to come to shore.
            The spy has arranged for Hardt to meet with a disgruntled British naval captain named David Ashington. David has been removed from his destroyer after he gave a wrong order when he was drunk. He is there to give secret orders and plans to Hardt.
            So to make a long story short because I am very fuzzy on the details, David is a double agent he is working for the Royal Navy to find Hardt. The spy who took Anna’s identity is also a double agent. Hardt and the Germans wind up dying in the end because they are the villains and must be punished.
            What I was able to follow of The Spy in Black was very interesting. The film was very much a propaganda piece- the British are good the Germans are evil. I liked how the character of Hardt was shown as a bad guy, just a straight forward bad guy. He was not a stereotypical evil German officer. He was doing what he was given orders to do. Although I was a bit confused The Spy in Black is a good film. Watch it as an interesting of British war propaganda.