Confirm or Deny (1941)

73 mins | Drama | 12 December 1941

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HISTORY

The following information about the production is derived from HR news items: Twentieth Century-Fox reportedly paid $20,000 for Henry Wales and Samuel Fuller's screen story, which, at the time, was "close to a record for an original by comparatively unknown writers." Wales was formerly a foreign press correspondent. Tyrone Power was originally set to star in Confirm or Deny , and Fritz Lang was scheduled to direct it. In early Jul 1941, Lang spent three days observing the daily routine at the Associated Press bureau to prepare himself for the picture. After six days of shooting, however, Lang was replaced by Archie Mayo when he suffered gall bladder problems. It is not known how much, if any, of Lang's footage is included in the released film. Fred Kohlmar was initially set to produce the picture, but when he left Twentieth Century-Fox to work at Paramount, production responsibilities were personally assumed by Darryl F. Zanuck. Len Hammond was made the film's active producer when Zanuck was detained by other pictures. Tommy Kelly and Denis Hoey were scheduled to appear in the film, but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Edmund Gwenn was originally signed for the role of Jeff, but was released from his contract at his own request. Although a 26 Sep 1941 studio press release stated that the songs "He's My Uncle," sung by Janis Carter, and "America, I Love You," sung by Joan Bennett, would be in the film, only "Bless 'Em All," is included ... More Less

The following information about the production is derived from HR news items: Twentieth Century-Fox reportedly paid $20,000 for Henry Wales and Samuel Fuller's screen story, which, at the time, was "close to a record for an original by comparatively unknown writers." Wales was formerly a foreign press correspondent. Tyrone Power was originally set to star in Confirm or Deny , and Fritz Lang was scheduled to direct it. In early Jul 1941, Lang spent three days observing the daily routine at the Associated Press bureau to prepare himself for the picture. After six days of shooting, however, Lang was replaced by Archie Mayo when he suffered gall bladder problems. It is not known how much, if any, of Lang's footage is included in the released film. Fred Kohlmar was initially set to produce the picture, but when he left Twentieth Century-Fox to work at Paramount, production responsibilities were personally assumed by Darryl F. Zanuck. Len Hammond was made the film's active producer when Zanuck was detained by other pictures. Tommy Kelly and Denis Hoey were scheduled to appear in the film, but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Edmund Gwenn was originally signed for the role of Jeff, but was released from his contract at his own request. Although a 26 Sep 1941 studio press release stated that the songs "He's My Uncle," sung by Janis Carter, and "America, I Love You," sung by Joan Bennett, would be in the film, only "Bless 'Em All," is included in the released picture. The film marked the screen debut of actress Helene Reynolds. According to a 20 Aug 1941 HR news item, Confirm or Deny was to have a special promotional trailer similar to the one for Charley's Aunt (see above), in which stars of various Twentieth Century-Fox films discussed their current roles. This special trailer was to feature Don Ameche, Gene Tierney of Belle Starr and Anne Baxter of Swamp Water , but it apparently was not produced. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Nov 1941.
---
Daily Variety
13 Nov 41
p. 3, 5
Film Daily
19 Nov 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 41
p. 2, 4
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 41
p. 3, 6
Los Angeles Times
25 Jan 1941.
---
Motion Picture Daily
14 Nov 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Nov 41
p. 362.
New York Times
19 Dec 41
p. 35.
Variety
19 Nov 41
p. 9.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Pub dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"Bless 'Em All," music and lyrics by Jimmy Hughes, Frank Lake and Al Stillman.
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 December 1941
Production Date:
early August--mid September 1941
extra seq 23 September 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
12 December 1941
Copyright Number:
LP11259
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73
Length(in feet):
6,585 , 6,621
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7648
SYNOPSIS

In September, 1940, brash American "Mitch" Mitchell works in London as a newspaper correspondent for Consolidated Press of America. Believing that Germany will soon invade England, Mitch persuades Sir Titus Scott to allow the news agency to rent his leased wire to Penzance, which will give Mitch's paper a forty-minute lead over the other American newspapers. Mitch enlists twelve-year-old office boy Albert Perkins and elderly Mr. Bindle in his plans, which include waiting for two carrier pigeons bearing news of the invasion. One evening, Mitch meets Ministry of Information teletype operator Jennifer Carson during an air raid, and they spend the night with other refugees in an underground station. The next day, Mitch learns that the Consolidated building has been nearly destroyed by the bombing, and after some fast-talking, he persuades hotel manager Hobbs to allow the agency to set up shop in the wine cellar of the Regency Hotel. Mitch also convinces Mininstry of Information official Duffield to lend him a teletype machine and the services of Jennifer, as well as an official censor, Captain Lionel Channing. Mitch is frustrated when Channing refuses to allow him to send any information concerning Hitler's movements and the possible invasion, but nonetheless begins to romance Jennifer. During another raid, a bomb crashes through to the wine cellar, and when Jeff, Mitch's blind assistant, hears it ticking, Mitch casually empties the cellar of its occupants. Jennifer, not knowing that the bomb is live, believes that Mitch is scheming to get rid of Channing so that he can send out uncensored stories. She insists on staying behind with Mitch, and soon they are trapped in the cellar ... +


In September, 1940, brash American "Mitch" Mitchell works in London as a newspaper correspondent for Consolidated Press of America. Believing that Germany will soon invade England, Mitch persuades Sir Titus Scott to allow the news agency to rent his leased wire to Penzance, which will give Mitch's paper a forty-minute lead over the other American newspapers. Mitch enlists twelve-year-old office boy Albert Perkins and elderly Mr. Bindle in his plans, which include waiting for two carrier pigeons bearing news of the invasion. One evening, Mitch meets Ministry of Information teletype operator Jennifer Carson during an air raid, and they spend the night with other refugees in an underground station. The next day, Mitch learns that the Consolidated building has been nearly destroyed by the bombing, and after some fast-talking, he persuades hotel manager Hobbs to allow the agency to set up shop in the wine cellar of the Regency Hotel. Mitch also convinces Mininstry of Information official Duffield to lend him a teletype machine and the services of Jennifer, as well as an official censor, Captain Lionel Channing. Mitch is frustrated when Channing refuses to allow him to send any information concerning Hitler's movements and the possible invasion, but nonetheless begins to romance Jennifer. During another raid, a bomb crashes through to the wine cellar, and when Jeff, Mitch's blind assistant, hears it ticking, Mitch casually empties the cellar of its occupants. Jennifer, not knowing that the bomb is live, believes that Mitch is scheming to get rid of Channing so that he can send out uncensored stories. She insists on staying behind with Mitch, and soon they are trapped in the cellar when another bomb closes off the exit. Jennifer asks him to forget about his scoop and instead consider what is best for England, but Mitch ignores her pleas and prepares his story. Soon after, Albert telephones to say that the one of the pigeons has come in with the expected message, and Mitch tries to send the story. Telling him that he will only be helping the enemy by revealing what British Intelligence knows, Jennifer struggles with him, but Mitch overpowers her. He is about to send the story to his New York office when Albert calls again and is killed during an air raid as he tells Mitch about a second pigeon. As Mitch and Jennifer absorb what has happened, the New York office repeatedly sends the message "Confirm or Deny," asking Mitch for more information on the invasion story. Mitch is devastated by the sacrifice he has forced Albert to make, however, and so composes a story about the boy's courage, then sends it and his resignation to the news agency. The rescue squad then breaks through to the cellar, and Mitch and Jennifer leave together. +

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.