A group of allied agents working undercover in occupied Paris struggle to infiltrate German files in order to discover the location of a rocket launching site before the D-Day invasion. However, in their midst a traitor lu... more »rks.« less
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 09/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's 1944 and a team of OSS agents are being trained to parachute into France to locate a Nazi missile site. Washington learns that one of them is a spy. What will OSS do about it?
I enjoy these WWII espionage movies. Even when they're not too good, they're good. James Cagney is the trainer for the OSS team, and OSS discovers the identity of the spy. They hope to feed him false information before picking him up. But the team he's on is parachuted in, and only Cagney has the skills and knowledge to go in after the team, neutralize the enemy agent, keep the knowledge of other OSS agents from the Nazis, help get the missile information back to the allies and...well, you get the idea. But Cagney is captured, and if he talks the Nazis will know what has been discovered. The solution (Spoiler ahead for those who care about WWII movies): Bomb the prison where Cagney is being held before the Nazis can break him. Cagney knows this will be done and defies his Nazi torturers and the enemy agent while the bombs explode around him killing them all.
This movie has all the faults one would expect of its type and time. The heroics are sometimes overstated. The bad guys sneer. The good guys feel obliged to underline with moralistic statements the consequences of the tough decisions they must make.
This movie also has some first rate good points. Cagney gives a performance of such energy and directness that he sweeps much of the melodrama out of the way. The enemy agent, played by Richard Conte, turns out to be a very shrewd guy and even a little sympathetic. Sure, he allows Cagney to be beaten but at least he looks like he didn't want to. Conte is, in my view, a largely forgotten but excellent actor who spent a good deal of his career in the Forties and Fifties playing second leads or leads in second-rate movies. If you don't recognize his name, he was the scheming don in The Godfather who was behind the effort to take apart the Corleone family, and who was shot by the false cop while he tried to run away up the stairs. Henry Hathaway's direction keeps the film moving at a very brisk pace. There aren't any slow spots.
I suppose this isn't a movie most will feel a need to add to their collection. But, if you're like me, viewing this film is a little like meeting an old friend you'd forgotten about. I'm glad I have it."
The past is prologue
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We're in the middle of the Second World War, the Allies have decided on the location where they'll launch their massive invasion of Europe, and spies are battling spies to hide and discover the facts. Thank goodness we have Jimmy Cagney on our side. Cagney plays the rough-and-tumble spy Bob Sharkey in Henry Hathaway's 13 RUE MADELEINE (1947), one of a number of motion pictures released shortly after the war that celebrated the exploits of America's nascent espionage organization, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services.) Although the movie ends in an exciting, if somewhat abrupt, scene behind enemy lines, a great deal of this movie takes place in what can probably best be described as a spy school. The movie begins with a rather extended montage of stock documentary film of London during wartime before gradually, and neatly, folding it into the movie proper. The first half of the movie concerns itself with the acceptance of a number of highly qualified candidates (including Annabella, Richard Conte and Frank Latimore), the rigorous training they undergo (Is that the brake of a train or a steam kettle you hear on the phonograph record?) and the discovery of a mole. A mole whom, of course, they leave in place so that the enemy can be fed disinformation and, hopefully, lead the good guys to the bad guys and their cache of rocket bombs in the Low Countries. Ah, spy movies! Especially spy movies where our spies are better than their spies. As usual Cagney is convincing as the spy trainer who eventually is forced to take the field, and 13 RUE MADELEINE'S semi-documentary treatment works well. Hathaway takes enough of a gritty realist approach to make this one believable, even if his presentation of the infallibility of Cagney the Spy stretches credibility. The film is in good condition, and old film fans should look quick for Karl Malden and E.G. Marshall in bit roles. "
Cloak and Cagney go together . . .
John R. Bridell | Minneapolis, MN USA | 06/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"13 RUE MADELEINE is one of Hollywood's last stand against the Axis--a post WWII film that explains our cloak and dagger OSS effort which helped whip those sneaky Nazis. The Cloak and Cagney go well together in this film. Cagney captured my pleasant attention since for once he was acting and not making a bully of himself. 13 must be measured against its' historical contribution to movies. It does help explain the American fear of Nazi and Japanese spies at the onset of WWII. We, in fact, had no credible military intelligence until the OSS. As Hollywood's attempt through this film to continue WWII should have rated only 4 stars, however I gave it the extra 5th star because the German soldiers were not portrayed as inept morons. This is a very entertaining film viewed in an historical context."
Fine spy thriller set in France just before D-Day
C. O. DeRiemer | 06/29/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Henry Hathaway directs an enthralling, if traditional spy thriller about the OSS and the French Underground working together just before the D-Day Invasion. Jimmy Cagney and Richard Conte star, and are amazing in their roles. Annabella, aFrench star at the time, is included for authenticity but is wasted in hers. Locations, details, OSS methods, all contribute to the veracity of this film-it is interesting and suspenseful throughout. The good guys win, of course, but at a terrific price, and the perfectending is hampered by the Motion Picture Code'sprohibition of showing or suggesting real torture."
Cagney driven WWII espionage drama
Cory D. Slipman | Rockville Centre, N.Y. | 06/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""!3 Rue Madeleine" a post war produced and somewhat over dramatized documentary style film directed by Henry Hathaway stars the venerable James Cagney as OSS agent Bob Sharkey. Cagney's character is a high ranking official in U.S. military intelligence who recruits a group of agents known as 077. Their dangerous mission involves insertion into Nazi occupied Europe to confuse the Germans as to the details of the looming D-day invasion of Europe.
Cagney and his superior Charles Gibson played by Walter Abel, are alerted to the presence of a Nazi spy within their midst posing as one of the 077 recruits. It is determined that Richard Conte playing Bill O'Connell alias Kuncel is the cunning German spy. They purposely fail to expose him, hoping to have him spread misinformation they've been feeding him.
The shrewd Conte to be inserted with 2 other operative in Holland gets suspicious and kills one of the agents. This will ultimately require Cagney to take his place.
Cagney drops into Vichy controlled France near Le Havre and with help from clandestine French Resistance leader and local mayor Galimard played by Sam Jaffe gets his plan organized. He unfortunately gets captured and is held in Le Havre Gestapo headquarters at 13 Rue Madeleine. He must keep his secrets in the face of merciless torture to preserve the mission."