FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940), with Dana Andrews starring as an American journalist involved in wartime intrigue in Germany.
After playing supporting roles in films such as THE WESTERNER (1940), BELLE STARR (1941), and BALL OF FIRE (1941), Andrews -- complete with a rather jarring mustache -- played his first leading role as reporter Bill Roberts. Roberts must stay one step ahead of the Nazis as he sends coded broadcasts out of Berlin in November 1941. When one of Roberts' sources (Edwin Kaiser) is imprisoned, Roberts helps the man escape to Switzerland. Roberts in turn is helped by his contact's daughter Karen (Virginia Gilmore) when he is imprisoned by the Gestapo.
This movie was released in September 1942 and is chiefly of interest as an example of a morale-building film early in the U.S. war effort. The Germans, led by Martin Kosleck and Sig Ruman, are portrayed as buffoons; Ruman, of course, famously played the ridiculous "Concentration Camp Ehrhardt" in Ernst Lubitsch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE, released earlier in 1942. While the film pokes fun at the enemy, their evil is also portrayed, such as in a scene where Ruman's character points out a crippled little girl due for a "mercy killing" because of her physical imperfection.
The movie appears to have been a "B" film, with a short 70-minute run time and fairly minimal production values. It's hokey at times and not really all that good, but Andrews is a winning film presence as the brash American, and the film hurtles along quickly to its conclusion.
Virginia Gilmore, who plays the troubled German girl Karen, appeared in films throughout the 1940s, mainly at 20th Century-Fox. She was married to Yul Brynner from 1944 to 1960.
The supporting cast includes Mona Maris. The film was directed by Eugene Forde.
BERLIN CORRESPONDENT is not available on DVD or VHS, but it can be seen from time to time on Fox Movie Channel.
2013 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R in the Fox Cinema Archives series.