O.S.S. (1946)

107 mins | Drama | 26 July 1946

Director:

Irving Pichel

Writer:

Richard Maibaum

Producer:

Richard Maibaum

Cinematographer:

Lionel Lindon

Editor:

William Shea

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Haldane Douglas

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening title card reads: " O.S.S. , United States Government Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C." The foreword to the film states: "While the characters in this motion picture are fictitious, the story is based on a composite of actual incidents in the diversified activities of the United States Office of Strategic Services which conducted intelligence, special operations, and unorthodox methods of warfare in support of allied military operations. It is a tribute to the brave, resourceful men and women, living and dead, who volunteered for these dangerous assignments. [signed] William J. Donovan, Director of Strategic Services."
       According to Paramount News items, before Paramount could make this film, the script had to be officially approved by Major-General Donovan, who organized the O.S.S. in 1942. Paramount News reported that with the cooperation of the U.S. government, O.S.S.'s declassified files were opened up for Paramount's inspection, and that many of the factual records were incorporated into the film's script. From hundreds of O.S.S. incidents, writer-producer Richard Maibaum, a former Lieutenant-Colonel in the U.S. Army, took three typical adventures and wove them into the screen story. Technical advisor Commander John M. Shaheen was the former chief of the special projects division of the O.S.S.
       A news item in Paramount News states that ex-Army sergeant Edward Cohen, who painted portraits of American officers in Wiesbaden, Germany during the war, was commissioned to paint the oil paintings used in this film. Portions of the film were shot at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and on location in Palos Verdes, CA. The film marked the motion picture debut of stage actors John Hoyt, formerly ... More Less

The opening title card reads: " O.S.S. , United States Government Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C." The foreword to the film states: "While the characters in this motion picture are fictitious, the story is based on a composite of actual incidents in the diversified activities of the United States Office of Strategic Services which conducted intelligence, special operations, and unorthodox methods of warfare in support of allied military operations. It is a tribute to the brave, resourceful men and women, living and dead, who volunteered for these dangerous assignments. [signed] William J. Donovan, Director of Strategic Services."
       According to Paramount News items, before Paramount could make this film, the script had to be officially approved by Major-General Donovan, who organized the O.S.S. in 1942. Paramount News reported that with the cooperation of the U.S. government, O.S.S.'s declassified files were opened up for Paramount's inspection, and that many of the factual records were incorporated into the film's script. From hundreds of O.S.S. incidents, writer-producer Richard Maibaum, a former Lieutenant-Colonel in the U.S. Army, took three typical adventures and wove them into the screen story. Technical advisor Commander John M. Shaheen was the former chief of the special projects division of the O.S.S.
       A news item in Paramount News states that ex-Army sergeant Edward Cohen, who painted portraits of American officers in Wiesbaden, Germany during the war, was commissioned to paint the oil paintings used in this film. Portions of the film were shot at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and on location in Palos Verdes, CA. The film marked the motion picture debut of stage actors John Hoyt, formerly known as John Hoysradt, and Harold Vermilyea. Paramount News also reported that one of Adolf Hitler's sleek black touring phaetons, a streamlined 1937 model Horch, was used in the film. Alan Ladd reprised his role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 18 Nov 1946, co-starring Veronica Lake. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 May 1946.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 May 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 46
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 46
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 46
p. 3, 14
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 May 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 46
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Apr 46
p. 2963.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 May 46
p. 2997.
New York Times
27 May 46
p. 15.
Variety
15 May 46
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Murray F. Yeats
Janna de Loos
Major Fred Farrell
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Portrait painter
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Asst spec photog eff, matte
Asst spec photog eff, miniatures
Asst spec optical eff
Asst transparency projection
Asst transparency projection
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
O.S.S. tech consultant
O.S.S. tech consultant
O.S.S. tech consultant
O.S.S. tech consultant
O.S.S. tech consultant
O.S.S. tech consultant
Other tech consultants
Other tech consultants
Other tech consultants
Research dir
Asst to research dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 July 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 31 May 1946
Production Date:
5 February--late March 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 July 1946
Copyright Number:
LP474
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
107
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11489
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At an electronics plant in Baltimore, Maryland, secret agent John Martin attempts to steal plans for an electric circuit. Caught and arrested for espionage, Martin is turned over to the Office of Strategic Services, which is training a group of new recruits by sending them on test missions. Along with three other men with secret identities, Gates, Parker and Bernay, and one woman, Elaine Dupree, Martin is sent to France to blow up a railroad tunnel in order to paralyze Axis troops while Allied soldiers invade. Martin is dubious of Elaine's ability to work under pressure because she is a woman, but she insists that he treat her as he would any other agent. During the group's first assignment, at a rural French inn, Gates is killed by German agents. A meeting of the French resistance is interrupted by German colonel Paul Meister, who becomes immediately infatuated with Elaine. Elaine, a sculptor, sculpts a bust of Meister's head, and when he announces his departure for Normandy on a troop train, she begs him to take her with him. With Martin's help, Elaine makes a duplicate bust and fills it with plastic explosives. She and Martin then blow up the tunnel, and after Martin comes back for her as the Germans shoot at them, Elaine makes Martin promise never to jeopardize a mission in order to rescue her. On foot, they meet Bernay, who is their radio contact with O.S.S. officials. As the Allies break through at Normandy, Elaine and Martin make a deal with Amadeus Brink, an officer of the Gestapo, who hopes to secure his immunity and a small fortune. Brink ... +


At an electronics plant in Baltimore, Maryland, secret agent John Martin attempts to steal plans for an electric circuit. Caught and arrested for espionage, Martin is turned over to the Office of Strategic Services, which is training a group of new recruits by sending them on test missions. Along with three other men with secret identities, Gates, Parker and Bernay, and one woman, Elaine Dupree, Martin is sent to France to blow up a railroad tunnel in order to paralyze Axis troops while Allied soldiers invade. Martin is dubious of Elaine's ability to work under pressure because she is a woman, but she insists that he treat her as he would any other agent. During the group's first assignment, at a rural French inn, Gates is killed by German agents. A meeting of the French resistance is interrupted by German colonel Paul Meister, who becomes immediately infatuated with Elaine. Elaine, a sculptor, sculpts a bust of Meister's head, and when he announces his departure for Normandy on a troop train, she begs him to take her with him. With Martin's help, Elaine makes a duplicate bust and fills it with plastic explosives. She and Martin then blow up the tunnel, and after Martin comes back for her as the Germans shoot at them, Elaine makes Martin promise never to jeopardize a mission in order to rescue her. On foot, they meet Bernay, who is their radio contact with O.S.S. officials. As the Allies break through at Normandy, Elaine and Martin make a deal with Amadeus Brink, an officer of the Gestapo, who hopes to secure his immunity and a small fortune. Brink removes Martin and Elaine's "wanted" file from the Gestapo sector headquarters and arranges for his cousin, a courier, to hand over a diplomatic pouch to Bernay for photocopying. Bernay places the negative in the lining of Martin's hat. Against Brink's advice, Bernay radios a final message that the Nazis have broken one of their secret codes. Bernay is gunned down, and Martin and Elaine are questioned by the gestapo and released before Meister catches Brink with their file papers. Martin and Elaine are about to board a plane to safety when they are asked to complete one last mission. They must contact Parker, who is on assignment near the Rhine. At a farmhouse, Elaine is accosted by a group of drunken German soldiers, and Parker, hiding among them, gives Elaine the Germans' troop dispositions. Martin leaves the farmhouse to radio in the positions, and while he is gone, Meister arrests Elaine. As the American troops march through France, Parker tells Martin that Elaine's real name was Ellen Rogers, and he imagines that she might have been the girl next door in his home town. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.