Adventures of Tartu (1943)

102-103 mins | Drama | October 1943

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Sabotage Agent , and some sources reviewed it under the title Tartu . Although the film is listed in HR production charts as being shot from late Sep to mid-Oct 1943, the SAB form on the film, contained in an AMPAS Library file, indicates that the film was completed on 10 Jan 1943, and a modern source indicates that it was shot in Jul and Aug 1942. As the film was reviewed in Var on 4 Aug 1943, it would seem unlikely that the HR production chart dates are accurate. The film was released in England in late 1943 under the original working title, Sabotage Agent . That version of the film was five minutes longer than the American release and included one additional scene. The scene, which occurred just after the character "Tartu" is given his assignment, takes place in his mother's house, which has just sustained bomb ... More Less

The working title of the film was Sabotage Agent , and some sources reviewed it under the title Tartu . Although the film is listed in HR production charts as being shot from late Sep to mid-Oct 1943, the SAB form on the film, contained in an AMPAS Library file, indicates that the film was completed on 10 Jan 1943, and a modern source indicates that it was shot in Jul and Aug 1942. As the film was reviewed in Var on 4 Aug 1943, it would seem unlikely that the HR production chart dates are accurate. The film was released in England in late 1943 under the original working title, Sabotage Agent . That version of the film was five minutes longer than the American release and included one additional scene. The scene, which occurred just after the character "Tartu" is given his assignment, takes place in his mother's house, which has just sustained bomb damage. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Aug 1943.
---
Daily Variety
3 Aug 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Aug 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 42
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Aug 43
p. 1546.
New York Times
24 Sep 43
p. 26.
New Yorker
25 Sep 1942.
---
Variety
4 Aug 43
p. 8.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sabotage Agent
Tartu
Release Date:
October 1943
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 24 September 1943
Production Date:
late September--mid October 1942 at Gainsborough Studios, Islington, England
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 July 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12175
Physical Properties:
Sound
B. A. F. Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102-103
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
PCA No:
9245
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1940, demolition expert Captain Terrence Stevenson, an Englishman born in Romania and educated in Germany, is summoned to the Foreign Office. Because Stevenson knows both Romanian and German fluently, he is asked to go on a mission disguised as Romanian chemical engineer Jan Tartu and destroy a poison gas factory in Czechoslovakia. After parachuting into Romania, "Tartu," dressed as a dandy and assuming the air of a gigolo, travels toward Czechoslovakia, pretending to be sympathetic to Germany and wanted by the Romanian people because of it. Arriving in Czechoslavakia, Tartu stops at the shop of his contact, a shoemaker. Before putting Tartu in touch with the underground, the shoemaker is arrested in a Gestapo raid, but Tartu escapes. Wearing a German uniform, Tartu then goes to work at a war materiel plant and is told to keep his eyes open for Czechs who try to stop production. At his hotel, he encounters Marúschka Brunn, a formerly wealthy Czech who fraternizes with the Germans and flaunts her distaste of her own people. One day, a woman is shot for sabotage at the plant and landlady Anna Palacek's daughter Pavla, who works at the plant, arrives at home very upset. When German officers arrive to investigate the death of a fellow officer, Tartu gives her an alibi and hides a gun for her. Pavla and Anna now say that they will do anyting for him and he reveals that he must contact the underground to fulfill a secret mission. A short time later, Marúschka asks to see him and he invites her for dinner at a nightclub. They begin to realize their mutual ... +


In 1940, demolition expert Captain Terrence Stevenson, an Englishman born in Romania and educated in Germany, is summoned to the Foreign Office. Because Stevenson knows both Romanian and German fluently, he is asked to go on a mission disguised as Romanian chemical engineer Jan Tartu and destroy a poison gas factory in Czechoslovakia. After parachuting into Romania, "Tartu," dressed as a dandy and assuming the air of a gigolo, travels toward Czechoslovakia, pretending to be sympathetic to Germany and wanted by the Romanian people because of it. Arriving in Czechoslavakia, Tartu stops at the shop of his contact, a shoemaker. Before putting Tartu in touch with the underground, the shoemaker is arrested in a Gestapo raid, but Tartu escapes. Wearing a German uniform, Tartu then goes to work at a war materiel plant and is told to keep his eyes open for Czechs who try to stop production. At his hotel, he encounters Marúschka Brunn, a formerly wealthy Czech who fraternizes with the Germans and flaunts her distaste of her own people. One day, a woman is shot for sabotage at the plant and landlady Anna Palacek's daughter Pavla, who works at the plant, arrives at home very upset. When German officers arrive to investigate the death of a fellow officer, Tartu gives her an alibi and hides a gun for her. Pavla and Anna now say that they will do anyting for him and he reveals that he must contact the underground to fulfill a secret mission. A short time later, Marúschka asks to see him and he invites her for dinner at a nightclub. They begin to realize their mutual attraction, and, as he gets to know Marúschka, Tartu deduces that she is really anti-Nazi. In the restaurant's garden, each decides to take a chance on the other. She tells him that she works with Pavla in the underground and will put him in touch with her compatriots. The next day, Pavla is caught in an act of sabotage. Because the Gestapo know that Tartu has seen it, Pavla secretly implores him to save himself and give her away. To fulfill his mission, Tartu does so, and she is shot. Meanwhile, Marúschka goes to the underground council and tells them about Tartu, but when they inform her about what happened to the shoemaker and Pavla, she concludes that he is really a Nazi. They then order her to "eliminate" him. After talking with Anna, Marúschka decides that "one Nazi should get rid of the other." She goes to Inspector Otto Heidrich, a Nazi admirer staying at the hotel, and convinces him that Tartu is a spy. She asks Otto not to call the Gestapo, but to take care of Tartu himself to further his career. They plot to kill Tartu that evening, and she arranges to meet Tartu on the nightclub's terrace. She tells Tartu that she is not a member of the underground, and, as he relates that he is being transferred the next day, Otto prepares to kill him. Just then, however, all officers are ordered to review everyone's papers, and when a young man is killed escaping, Otto's plan is interrupted. In the morning, Tartu reports to the poison gas works and is told that he must memorize the gas's secret formula quickly because the gas will be shipped in two weeks. That night, he goes to a bar and, pretending to be roaring drunk, boasts of his knowledge of the underground. When he leaves, members of the underground follow him, knock him out and take him away. When he comes to, he tries to convince them that he is a British agent, even when they say that they are actually the Gestapo. After they realize that Tartu is telling the truth, they offer to help him sabotage the poison gas bombs. To do this, they create very powerful but tiny bombs that Tartu can smuggle into the plant. Next morning, Otto confirms to Marúschka his findings that Tartu is not a Nazi. Now concerned for Tartu's safety, she starts to flirt with Otto and suggest that he delay calling in the Gestapo to keep the credit for exposing Tartu for himself, then knocks him unconscious. With Anna's help, she quickly leaves after realizing that Otto is dead and goes to the gas works and asks to speak with Tartu, coyly pretending to be his girl friend. She warns Tartu, but he says he cannot leave and tells her to inform the underground that he is planting the bombs right away. As he furiously places the bombs, there is an announcement on the loud speaker that exposes him as a spy. After a desperate chase, he is finally able to escape just before the gas works is sealed off and is picked up by the underground as the explosions begin. Because Marúschka has now become a liability, the underground decides to send her away, and she happily escapes with Tartu in a stolen Nazi airplane. +

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.