A fascinating true story of an American-born Swede (Holden) who is an oil trader doing business with the Nazis during WW II. This business gets the neutral businessman on the Allied-enemies list, and he is eager to change that status when British intelligence officer Griffith makes him
an offer he can't refuse. They will clear his name at war's end if he agrees to spy on the Nazis for them. Holden agrees, although ingratiating himself to the Germans causes him no end of problems with his family and friends. Wife Dahlbeck wants nothing to do with him, and he is shunned by
everyone as a traitor. On a trip to Berlin, he encounters fellow-spy Palmer. They go into the espionage business together and, as fate would have it, fall in love. Holden convinces the Nazi officials that he is eager to erect an oil refinery in Sweden and is therefore allowed to visit all the
German refineries for ideas. In actuality, he is making notes on the locations and capacities of the plants, and on various other facts, so that he can pass them on to his Allied contacts. The Gestapo discovers that Palmer is an agent, and she is captured and executed in full view of Holden, who
can barely contain his fear, anger, and frustration. Despite the terrible mental strain, Holden is wise enough to gull the Nazis into believing that he knew nothing of Palmer's duplicity. Holden is eventually freed but is placed in jeopardy again by Helo Gutschwager (his real name!)--a 12-year-old
Hitler Youth who would, and does, betray his own father (not unlike Skippy Homeier in TOMORROW THE WORLD). Holden manages to escape into the underground and is spirited first to Denmark and then home to Sweden, where he sits out the rest of the war. After the hostilities end, Holden is lauded by
his government for his courageous spying and is welcomed back into the fold.
The picture was half an hour too long. Seaton's script was quite witty and showed his stage origins but needed some judicious cutting of dialog--not easy, perhaps, because Seaton was also the director. Filmed in West Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and various places in Holland, the film
is a delight to watch for the backgrounds alone. Palmer (born Lillie Marie Peiser) is from Posen, Germany. Her father was a physician and her mother and sister were both actresses. In real life she actually did flee the Nazis. Married to Rex Harrison for years, she is now wed to Carlos Thompson
and is happily writing best-sellers like The Red Raven and Change Lobsters And Dance.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A fascinating true story of an American-born Swede (Holden) who is an oil trader doing business with the Nazis during WW II. This business gets the neutral businessman on the Allied-enemies list, and he is eager to change that status when British intellige… (more)