Betrayal from the East (1945)

82-83 mins | Drama | 1945

Director:

William Berke

Producer:

Herman Schlom

Cinematographer:

Russell Metty

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Ralph Berger

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

According to a pre-production news item in HR , Bonita Granville was originally slated to play the female lead in this picture. Although a HR production chart places Kurt Kreuger in the cast, his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. A news item in NYT notes that this was Lee Tracy's first screen appearance since his two-year stint in the Military Police. A HR news item adds that Tracy's performance in this picture won him a contract with RKO. Although noted news commentator Drew Pearson's name is not included in the onscreen credits, Pearson does appear as the narrator in the ... More Less

According to a pre-production news item in HR , Bonita Granville was originally slated to play the female lead in this picture. Although a HR production chart places Kurt Kreuger in the cast, his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. A news item in NYT notes that this was Lee Tracy's first screen appearance since his two-year stint in the Military Police. A HR news item adds that Tracy's performance in this picture won him a contract with RKO. Although noted news commentator Drew Pearson's name is not included in the onscreen credits, Pearson does appear as the narrator in the film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Mar 1945.
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Feb 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 45
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Dec 44
p. 2230.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Feb 45
pp. 2318-19.
New York Times
30 Jul 1944.
---
New York Times
25 Apr 45
p. 27.
Variety
25 Apr 45
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
SOUND
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Betrayal from the East by Alan Hynd (New York, 1943).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 24 April 1945
Production Date:
early July--early August 1944
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
22 March 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13283
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82-83
Length(in feet):
7,404
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10313
SYNOPSIS

Journalist Drew Pearson relates the following story, cautioning that it must never happen again: In 1941, as Emperor Hirohito preaches peace, the armed forces of Japan prepare to sabotage strategic defense sites in the western United States. When reporter Jack Marsden informs C. H. Hildebrand, the chief of the foreign press service in Tokyo, that he has stumbled upon a list of Japanese espionage agents operating in the United States, Hildebrand directs him to deliver the information to Army intelligence in San Francisco. When the U.S. agents meet Marsden's boat in San Francisco, however, they are informed by Tanni, the cabin boy, that the reporter fell overboard during a storm. Marsden's death is followed by the news that Hildebrand has plunged to his death from a Tokyo hotel room window. Meanwhile, at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco, saboteurs Yamato and Kato arrange a meeting in Los Angeles to discuss obtaining information about the defense system of the Panama Canal. Kato then contacts Eddie Carter, an ex-soldier who likes easy money, to offer him the job of acquiring the plans. Eddie, who is now working as a carnival barker, feigns knowledge about the canal and agrees to meet Kato in a Los Angeles nightclub the following week. On the train to Los Angeles, Eddie meets Peggy Harrison, who pleads with him to give up his compartment so that she will have somewhere to sleep. Eddie obliges, and after he vacates his room, Peggy searches his luggage. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Eddie asks Peggy to join him at the nightclub. There he is greeted by Kato, who escorts him into a darkened room filled ... +


Journalist Drew Pearson relates the following story, cautioning that it must never happen again: In 1941, as Emperor Hirohito preaches peace, the armed forces of Japan prepare to sabotage strategic defense sites in the western United States. When reporter Jack Marsden informs C. H. Hildebrand, the chief of the foreign press service in Tokyo, that he has stumbled upon a list of Japanese espionage agents operating in the United States, Hildebrand directs him to deliver the information to Army intelligence in San Francisco. When the U.S. agents meet Marsden's boat in San Francisco, however, they are informed by Tanni, the cabin boy, that the reporter fell overboard during a storm. Marsden's death is followed by the news that Hildebrand has plunged to his death from a Tokyo hotel room window. Meanwhile, at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco, saboteurs Yamato and Kato arrange a meeting in Los Angeles to discuss obtaining information about the defense system of the Panama Canal. Kato then contacts Eddie Carter, an ex-soldier who likes easy money, to offer him the job of acquiring the plans. Eddie, who is now working as a carnival barker, feigns knowledge about the canal and agrees to meet Kato in a Los Angeles nightclub the following week. On the train to Los Angeles, Eddie meets Peggy Harrison, who pleads with him to give up his compartment so that she will have somewhere to sleep. Eddie obliges, and after he vacates his room, Peggy searches his luggage. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Eddie asks Peggy to join him at the nightclub. There he is greeted by Kato, who escorts him into a darkened room filled with saboteurs. Although he is unable to see their faces, Eddie notices a pin worn by the ringleader. After lying that his old army friend, Jimmy Scott, is an ordnance worker in Panama, Eddie is hired by the Japanese to buy plans of the canal from Jimmy. Upon returning home, Eddie is about to telephone army intelligence when he notices that he is being watched by Omaya, the apartment handyman. To avoid detection, Eddie proceeds to headquarters to confer in person. After telling the intelligence officers about the fictitious Jimmy Scott, Eddie agrees to infiltrate the ring. On his way home, he is picked up and taken to see Yamato, who shows him a flim clip of Omaya and Peggy searching his apartment. After declaring Omaya and Peggy to be American spies, Yamato tortures Omaya and orders Eddie to deliver Peggy to his office later that afternoon. Although Peggy, who is aware of Eddie's cover, insists that he follow Yamato's orders, Eddie refuses, and as they begin to argue, Peggy steps out into the street and is run down and apparently killed by a passing car. That night, Kato presents Eddie with a ticket to Panama and tells him that he will be contacted by Araki once he arrives. In his hotel room, Eddie is visited by a fellow spy calling himself Jimmy Scott, who warns him that a dictaphone and camera have been planted in the room. As Nazi agents listen to their conversation over the dictaphone, Eddie offers Jimmy money in exchange for military information. When Jimmy asks for time to consider the proposition, they agree to meet the following evening. The next night, as they drive in Jimmy's car, Jimmy gives Eddie obsolete plans of the canal and warns him that Araki intends to kill him once he has gained possession of the plans. Jimmy instructs Eddie to stall until his safe transportation to the U.S. can be arranged, and informs him that he will be signalled by a telegram from his "sister." Their discussion completed, Eddie and Jimmy proceed to an exclusive nightclub, where Jimmy sees Peggy, who is alive and posing as a Danish socialite. Overhearing her make a date to meet her escort, Kurt Gunther, a beauty salon owner and Nazi agent, at the beach the next day, Eddie follows her there and swims out to the raft on which she is sunning herself. There, Peggy explains that her accident was staged to fool Yamato and that she is in Panama to investigate Nazi relations with the Japanese. Their meeting is reported to Yamato by Nazi spies. Soon after, Eddie receives a telegram from his "sister," notifying him that their "mother" is near death. Feigning grief, Eddie informs Araki that he must return home immediately and books passage on a ship leaving that afternoon. Araki instructs the Nazis to kill Eddie on his way to the ship, but the Department of Immigration arrests them for improper documentation before they can complete their mission. While visiting Kurt's salon, Peggy overhears Araki tell Kurt that he has ordered Eddie to be killed. When a call notifies him of the arrest of the Nazi assassins, Araki decides to drive to the harbor and kill Eddie himself. To warn Eddie, Peggy borrows Kurt's car and, pretending to have car trouble, flags down his cab and directs him to the airport rather than the harbor. Upon returning to the beauty salon, Peggy is imprisoned in a steam room and interrogated by Araki and Kurt. Rather than betray her country, she perishes from suffocation. Upon arriving at the Los Angeles airport, Eddie is met by Kato, who takes him to a Japanese ship. Recognizing the pin worn by Tanni, the cabin boy, Eddie realizes that he has uncovered the identity of the spies' ringleader. As Tanni examines the plans, Eddie sneaks into his cabin and discovers a trunk filled with the plans of the saboteurs' targets. After affirming that he is a lieutenant commander in the Japanese Navy, Tanni taunts Eddie with news of Peggy's death. Enraged, Eddie attacks Tanni, and in a furious struggle, seizes the Japanese's gun and shoots him, only to be then shot by Tanni's men. Returning to the present, Drew Pearson concludes that "Eddie died in an undeclared war...a war against underground enemies that never begins and never ends." +

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

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