Espionage Agent (1939)

74 mins | Drama | 30 September 1939

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HISTORY

The working title of this picture was Career Man , and it marked Brenda Marshall's screen debut. Although the character played by Martin Kosleck is credited onscreen as "Mr. Mullen," he is called "Mueller" throughout the film. In an early draft of the SAB , James Hilton was credited with screenplay, but this was later changed to additional dialogue. Reviews compared the picture to Confessions of a Nazi Spy because of its expose about ...

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The working title of this picture was Career Man , and it marked Brenda Marshall's screen debut. Although the character played by Martin Kosleck is credited onscreen as "Mr. Mullen," he is called "Mueller" throughout the film. In an early draft of the SAB , James Hilton was credited with screenplay, but this was later changed to additional dialogue. Reviews compared the picture to Confessions of a Nazi Spy because of its expose about espionage.

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PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Sep 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Sep 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
27 Sep 39
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Jul 39
p. 55.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Sep 39
p. 39.
New York Times
23 Sep 39
p. 22.
Variety
27 Sep 39
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture; Jack L. Warner, in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score and cond
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Career Man
Release Date:
30 September 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 23 Sep 1939
Production Date:
began mid May 1939
Copyright Info
Claimant
DATE
CopyrightNumber
Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc.
30 September 1939
LP9140
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5412
SYNOPSIS

As war flares in North Africa, the U.S. consulate in Tangiers is flooded with Americans desperate to return home. Among them is Brenda Ballard, who has obtained a forged passport in exchange for her services on behalf of German espionage. Brenda meets Barry Corvall, an attache at the consulate, when she staggers into his office and faints. Barry, who is returning to Washington to attend foreign service school, becomes infatuated by Brenda, and when the two sail for America on the same boat, he falls in love with her. Although Barry proposes night after night, Brenda refuses to marry him because she knows that he comes from a family of career diplomats and her past would destroy his future. In Washington, Barry completes his studies, and upon passing his examinations, he is assigned to the Paris consulate. Against his mother's wishes, Barry finally becomes engaged to Brenda, and on the eve of their marriage, Karl Muller, a German spy, appears and orders Brenda to steal some secret plans. Compelled by Muller's demands, Brenda confesses her past to Barry, thus forcing him to resign from the foreign service. Realizing that the U.S. has no defense against spies like Muller, Barry determines to expose the workings of the espionage ring. He and Brenda decide to risk their lives by going to Geneva to infiltrate the ring. There, Brenda convinces Paul Strawn, one of the spies, that she and Barry are willing to sell U.S. military and industrial secrets. Discovering the location of the spies's headquarters, Barry eavesdrops on a meeting and learns of their plans to spread national disaster throughout America. Realizing that ...

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As war flares in North Africa, the U.S. consulate in Tangiers is flooded with Americans desperate to return home. Among them is Brenda Ballard, who has obtained a forged passport in exchange for her services on behalf of German espionage. Brenda meets Barry Corvall, an attache at the consulate, when she staggers into his office and faints. Barry, who is returning to Washington to attend foreign service school, becomes infatuated by Brenda, and when the two sail for America on the same boat, he falls in love with her. Although Barry proposes night after night, Brenda refuses to marry him because she knows that he comes from a family of career diplomats and her past would destroy his future. In Washington, Barry completes his studies, and upon passing his examinations, he is assigned to the Paris consulate. Against his mother's wishes, Barry finally becomes engaged to Brenda, and on the eve of their marriage, Karl Muller, a German spy, appears and orders Brenda to steal some secret plans. Compelled by Muller's demands, Brenda confesses her past to Barry, thus forcing him to resign from the foreign service. Realizing that the U.S. has no defense against spies like Muller, Barry determines to expose the workings of the espionage ring. He and Brenda decide to risk their lives by going to Geneva to infiltrate the ring. There, Brenda convinces Paul Strawn, one of the spies, that she and Barry are willing to sell U.S. military and industrial secrets. Discovering the location of the spies's headquarters, Barry eavesdrops on a meeting and learns of their plans to spread national disaster throughout America. Realizing that he needs evidence to convince Congress, Barry and Brenda try to flush the spies out of their headquarters with the plans. Their scheme backfires, however, and Rader, the head of the ring, takes Brenda hostage aboard a train bound for Germany. Barry follows and rescues Brenda, and after securing the plans, they make a daring escape by plane. In Washington, Barry uses his evidence to convince the government of the necessity to combat espionage in the U.S.

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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.