Underground (1941)

94-95 mins | Drama | 28 June 1941

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writer:

Charles Grayson

Producer:

Bryan Foy

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Thomas Pratt

Production Designer:

Charles Novi

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

A 4 Aug 1940 HR news item notes that John Garfield was first assigned to the lead. Philip Dorn was borrowed from M-G-M for the role of "Eric." The Var review notes that Warner Bros. announced last-minute changes to the film's script to include a reference to Rudolf Hess's 10 Mar 1941 flight to Scotland in an abortive attempt to negotiate a peace between Germany and Great Britain. The review points out that the advertised changes amounted to only a few lines of dialogue "without plot ... More Less

A 4 Aug 1940 HR news item notes that John Garfield was first assigned to the lead. Philip Dorn was borrowed from M-G-M for the role of "Eric." The Var review notes that Warner Bros. announced last-minute changes to the film's script to include a reference to Rudolf Hess's 10 Mar 1941 flight to Scotland in an abortive attempt to negotiate a peace between Germany and Great Britain. The review points out that the advertised changes amounted to only a few lines of dialogue "without plot significance." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Jun 1941.
---
Film Daily
18 Jun 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 41
p. 27.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 41
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 41
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Jun 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Jul 41
p. 182.
New York Times
23 Jun 41
p. 13.
Variety
25 Jun 41
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 June 1941
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 21 June 1941
Production Date:
late February--early April 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 July 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10568
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in feet):
8,519
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Eric Franken works with the German underground to broadcast anti-Nazi information to the German people. When his brother Kurt, a soldier, returns home after losing an arm in battle, Eric must double his efforts to hide his activities. On the night of Kurt's return, the family is visited by an old friend, Gustav Müller, who has been saddened by the death of his son in the war. Kurt, who is convinced of the nobility of the German cause, accuses the grieving man of being unpatriotic. Eric has planned a broadcast for that evening and, intending to sneak out of the house, leaves for his room. Kurt follows him and, noticing a phone number for Sylvia Helmuth, another member of the underground, teases Eric about his "girl friend." After Kurt leaves, Eric drives with the others to a location in the country. While he broadcasts from a studio hidden in a tow truck, the Gestapo zeros in on their location. Warned by Fraulein Gessner, an operative inside Gestapo headquarters, the group is able to escape but is forced to burn the truck and destroy the equipment. Hoping to trap the members of the group, the Gestapo orders the release of their former associate, Hoffman, from a concentration camp. They force Hoffman to set up a meeting in the café where Sylvia plays the violin. The group is warned of the trap, but two of its members are killed. Meanwhile, Kurt has introduced himself to Sylvia and is very attracted to her. When she tries to pick up new radio equipment, Kurt insists on accompanying her despite her efforts to dissuade him. ... +


Eric Franken works with the German underground to broadcast anti-Nazi information to the German people. When his brother Kurt, a soldier, returns home after losing an arm in battle, Eric must double his efforts to hide his activities. On the night of Kurt's return, the family is visited by an old friend, Gustav Müller, who has been saddened by the death of his son in the war. Kurt, who is convinced of the nobility of the German cause, accuses the grieving man of being unpatriotic. Eric has planned a broadcast for that evening and, intending to sneak out of the house, leaves for his room. Kurt follows him and, noticing a phone number for Sylvia Helmuth, another member of the underground, teases Eric about his "girl friend." After Kurt leaves, Eric drives with the others to a location in the country. While he broadcasts from a studio hidden in a tow truck, the Gestapo zeros in on their location. Warned by Fraulein Gessner, an operative inside Gestapo headquarters, the group is able to escape but is forced to burn the truck and destroy the equipment. Hoping to trap the members of the group, the Gestapo orders the release of their former associate, Hoffman, from a concentration camp. They force Hoffman to set up a meeting in the café where Sylvia plays the violin. The group is warned of the trap, but two of its members are killed. Meanwhile, Kurt has introduced himself to Sylvia and is very attracted to her. When she tries to pick up new radio equipment, Kurt insists on accompanying her despite her efforts to dissuade him. The Gestapo is waiting and Sylvia is arrested and tortured. She reveals nothing, however, and learning of Kurt's romantic interest in her, the Gestapo asks him to win Sylvia's confidence and report on her activities. Kurt is deeply disturbed by the treatment Sylvia received from the Gestapo, but believing her to be innocent, he agrees. Eventually, he tells her that he has been watching her and begs her to go away with him. While they talk, however, Kurt realizes that she is in fact a member of the underground and leaves her house. At home, Eric questions Kurt, determined to kill his own brother if necessary to defend the underground, but Kurt admits that he can never betray Sylvia because he loves her too much. Hoping to warn Sylvia of the danger, Kurt visits her one more time and sees her leave with other underground members. After he informs the Gestapo, he rushes Sylvia away and learns for the first time that Eric is one of the people he has betrayed. A distraught Kurt wants to tell Eric that he did not know of his brother's involvement, but Gessner convinces him that he can be of more use to Eric if he pretends that he willingly turned in his own brother. Kurt agrees to join the underground and allow Eric to die believing that he betrayed him, but on the day of the execution, Kurt broadcasts illegally over speakers at the execution site and, by reciting part of a motto that has always hung in the Franken home, lets Eric know that he will continue his work. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
World War II, Espionage


Subject

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

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