Tagline – The Most Sinister Address in History!
Starring – James Cagney (Robert Emmett “Bob” Sharkey), Richard Conte (Wilhelm Kuncel/William H. “Bill” O’Connell), Annabella (Suzanne de Beaumont), Frank Latimore (Jeff Lassiter).
Released – January, 1947
Directed By – Henry Hathaway
Produced By – Twentieth Century Film Corporation
Distributed By – Twentieth Century Film Corporation
Description – Bob Sharkey is the chief instructor in charge of training espionage agents to infiltrate Nazi occupied Europe during World War II, and he has a big problem.
There is a rotten apple in his barrel of agents. Intelligence has informed Bob that a German agent is part of his latest group of trainees and Bob must find out just who it is. Identifying the German agent is not difficult as one particular agent, Bill O’Connell, easily succeeds in a field problem that is designed to cause mistakes by novice agents.
Further investigation into O’Connell’s background confirms that he is actually top German agent Wilhelm Kuncel. It is the intention of Kuncel to learn the date and location of the planned Allied invasion of Europe.
Bob is instructed to pass the German along with the other new agents, but to provide him with false information regarding the planned invasion to pass along to his superiors.
The plan is to send Kuncel along with two other agents, Suzanne de Beaumont and Jeff Lassiter, into Europe. Kuncel is given a false mission while de Beaumont and Lassiter will be searching for the factory depot for V-2 Rockets that will be used against the Allied forces during the invasion.
Lassiter’s orders are to kill Kuncel if he follows him and de Beaumont rather than work to complete his own mission. This responsibility makes Lassiter nervous and his uneasiness is easily picked up on by Kuncel who is now suspicious that his idendity may be known.
When the three are parachuted over Holland to sneak behind enemy lines, Lassiter’s chute fails to open and he falls to his death. The planes jumpmaster discovers that Lassiter’s chute was deliberately cut and his death was no accident.
It is now obvious that Kuncel is aware of the plan to deceive him and can identify every agent that he trained with. He must be stopped before endangering the entire planned invasion. Feeling responsible for the dire situation, Bob Sharkey volunteers to replace Lassiter.
With the aid of the local French Resistance force, Sharkey is able to capture and return to Great Britain the Nazi collaborator who designed the V-2 Rocket depot.
While attempting to stop Kuncel from returning to Germany with the espionage information he is captured and their seemingly is no way to stop Kuncel from identifying all of the Allied agents and guaranteeing their death.
NOTABLE: James Cagney’s character, Robert Emmett ‘Bob’ Sharkey, was originally based on the World War II director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), William Donovan (i.e. Major General William Joseph Donovan, USA, GCSS, KBE) as well as the spy agency being based on the O.S.S. Donovan objected to this, particularly the story element that the OSS had been infiltrated by a German Nazi agent spy. Alas, the spy agency became the “077” and any of Cagney’s character similarities with Donovan were removed.
Actor Rex Harrison was the first offered the lead role in 13 Rue Madeleine this motion picture, but turned it down.
Director Henry Hathaway and Producer Louis De Rochemont had previously worked together on the 20th Century Fox spy film titled The House on 92nd Street. Coincidentally, both films used street addresses in their titles.