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Spy Noirs, US, from Dan Hodges

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Introduction

The table below has 84 US spy noirs that I have identified. These films were released during the classic period of spy noir.

The information in the table about each film’s director and cinematographer complements the page on crime noirs, 1940-1944, Noir Style: Natives – Not Émigrés.

The table provides additional evidence that film noir didn’t arise in the United States because of émigrés from France or Central Europe. With very few exceptions, the directors and cinematographers responsible for the development of US film noir were were born in America; or, if they were born elsewhere, their film careers were substantially if not entirely in the US.

Here are two examples that show how I cite information about the directors and cinematographers.

Karl Freund (Czech Republic; US career: 1929)

Karl Freund was born in the Czech Republic (using today’s name for his birth country), and his career in the US began in 1929.

John H. Auer (Hungary; US career)

John H. Auer was born in Hungary and his career was entirely in the US.

When the literary source of a spy noir is a novel or a play, I only provide the title when it is different from the film’s title.

The information in the table about each film’s writer(s) shows how rarely a spy noir was adapted from an espionage novel (e.g., by Eric Ambler or Graham Greene). Instead, stage plays or novels not associated with espionage literature are more often the basis for spy noirs. Most frequently, spy noirs come from original screenplays or screenplays adapted from original, unpublished stories.

Therefore, contrary to the suggestions of James Naremore (Nothing More Than Night: Film Noir and Its Contexts) and Jon Tuska (Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective), spy noirs aren’t derived from spy novels. The table shows the independence of spy noirs from spy novels. For my critique of Naremore and Tuska, see the sections “Full Recognition of America’s Forgotten Ally” and “Postscript,” respectively, in the page Spy Noirs & the Origins of Film Noir.

Presentation

Date

Title

Director

Cinematographer

Writer(s)

1938

Blockade William Dieterle (Germany; US career: 1930) Rudolph Maté (Poland; US career: 1935) John Howard Lawson (screenplay)

1938

Invisible Enemy John H. Auer (Hungary; US career) Jack A. Marta (US) Norman Burnstine & Alex Gottlieb (screenplay); Albert J. Cohen & Robert T. Shannon (story)

1939

Confessions of a Nazi Spy Anatole Litvak (Ukraine; US career: 1937) Sol Polito (Italy; US career) Milton Krims & John Wexley (screenplay)

1939

Conspiracy Lew Landers (US) Frank Redman (US) Jerome Chodorov (screenplay); John P. McCarthy & Faith Thomas (story)

1939

Espionage Agent Lloyd Bacon (US) Charles Rosher (UK; US career) Warren Duff, Michael Fessier & Frank Donoghue  (screenplay); Robert Butler (story)

1939

Hotel Imperial Robert Florey (France; US career) William C. Mellor (US) Gilbert Gabriel & Robert Thoeren (screenplay); Lajos Biró (story)

1939

Navy Secrets Howard Bretherton (US) Harry Neumann (US) Harvey Gates (screenplay); Steve Fisher (story)

1939

North of Shanghai D. Ross Lederman (US) Franz Planer (Czech Republic; US career: 1938) Harold Buchman (screenplay & story)

1939

Nurse Edith Cavell Herbert Wilcox (UK) F.A. Young (UK) & Joseph H. August (US) Edith Cavell (novel); Michael Hogan (screenplay); Reginald Berkeley (story)

1940

British Intelligence Terry O. Morse (US) Sid Hickox (US) Lee Katz (screenplay); Anthony Paul Kelly (play)

1940

Escape Mervyn LeRoy (US) Robert Planck (US) Arch ObolerMarguerite Roberts (screenplay); Grace Zaring Stone (novel)

1940

Foreign Correspondent Alfred Hitchcock (UK; US career: 1940) Rudolph Maté (Poland; US career: 1935) Charles Bennett & Joan Harrison (screenplay)

1940

Four Sons Archie Mayo (US) Leon Shamroy (US) John Howard Lawson (screenplay)

1940

Island of Doomed Men Charles Barton (US) Benjamin Kline (US) Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay)

1940

The Phantom Submarine Charles Barton (US) Barney McGill (US) Joseph Krumgold (screenplay); Augustus Muir (story)

1941

The Devil Pays Off John H. Auer (Hungary; US career) John Alton (Hungary; US career) Lawrence Kimble & Malcolm Stuart Boylan (screenplay); George Worthing Yates & Julian Zimet (story)

1941

International Lady Tim Whelan (US) Hal Mohr (US) Howard Eastabrook (screenplay); Jack DeWittE. Lloyd Sheldon (story)

1941

Man at Large Eugene Forde (US) Virgil Miller (US) John Larkin (screenplay)

1941

Mr. Dynamite John Rawlins (US) John W. Boyle (US) Stanley Rubin (screenplay & story)

1941

Mystery Ship Lew Landers (US) L. William O’Connell (US) Houston Branch & David Silverstein (screenplay); Alex Gottlieb (story)

1941

Paris Calling Edwin L. Marin (US) Milton Krasner (US) Charles Kaufman & Benjamin Glazer (screenplay); Hans Székely (story)

1941

So Ends Our Night John Cromwell (US) William H. Daniels (US) Talbot Jennings (screenplay); Erich Maria Remarque (novel, Flotsam)

1941

South of Panama Jean Yarbrough (US) Mack Stengler (US) Ben Roberts & Sidney Sheldon (screenplay & story)

1941

Sundown Henry Hathaway (US) Charles Lang (US) Barré Lyndon  (screenplay & story)

1941

Underground Vincent Sherman (US) Sid Hickox (US) Charles Grayson (screenplay); Edwin Justus Mayer & Oliver H.P. Garrett (story)

1942

Across the Pacific John Huston (US) Arthur Edeson (US) Richard Macaulay (screenplay); Robert Carson (serial “Aloha Means Goodbye”)

1942

Berlin Correspondent Eugene Forde (US) Virgil Miller (US) Steve Fisher & Jack Andrews (screenplay)

1942

Bombay Clipper John Rawlins (US) Stanley Cortez (US) Roy Chanslor & Stanley Rubin (screenplay)

1942

Bombs Over Burma Joseph H. Lewis (US) Robert E. Cline (US) Joseph H. Lewis, Milton Raison & George Wellington Pardy (screenplay & story)

1942

China Girl Henry Hathaway (US) Lee Garmes (US) Ben Hecht (screenplay);  Darryl F. Zanuck (story)

1942

Desperate Journey Raoul Walsh (US) Bert Glennon (US) Arthur T. Horman (screenplay)

1942

Escape from Hong Kong William Nigh (US) Woody Bredell (US) Roy Chanslor (screenplay & story)

1942

Eyes in the Night Fred Zinnemann (Austria; US career) Charles Lawton (US) & Robert Planck (US) Guy Trosper & Howard Emmett Rogers (screenplay); Baynard Kendrick (novel, The Odor of Violets)

1942

The Great Impersonation John Rawlins (US) George Robinson (US) Scott Darling (screenplay); E. Phillips Oppenheim (novel)

1942

Half Way to Shanghai John Rawlins (US) John W. Boyle (US) Stuart Palmer (screenplay)

1942

Invisible Agent Edwin L. Marin (US) Lester White (US) Curt Siodmak (screenplay); H.G. Wells (novel, The Invisible Man)

1942

Joan of Paris Robert Stevenson (UK; US career: 1938) Russell Metty (US) Charles Bennett & Ellis St. Joseph (screenplay); Jacques Théry & George Kessel (story)

1942

Lady from Chungking William Nigh (US) Marcel Le Picard (France; US career) Sam Robins (screenplay); Milton Raison (story)

1942

Little Tokyo, U.S.A. Otto Brower (US) Joseph MacDonald (US) George Bricker (screenplay)

1942

Nightmare Tim Whelan (US) George Barnes (US) Dwight Taylor (screenplay); Philip MacDonald story)

1942

Prisoner of Japan Arthur Ripley (US) & Edgar G. Ulmer [uncredited] (Czech Republic; US career) Jack Greenhalgh (US) & Robert E. Cline (US) Robert Chapin (screenplay); Edgar G. Ulmer & Arthur Ripley (story)

1942

Remember Pearl Harbor Joseph Santley (US) Ernest Miller (US) Malcolm Stuart Boylan & Isabel Dawn (screenplay); Jack Natteford (story, uncredited)

1942

Secret Agent of Japan Irving Pichel (US) Lucien N. Andriot (France; US career: 1913) John Larkin (screenplay)

1942

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror John Rawlins (US) Woody Bredell (US) Lynn Riggs & John Bright (screenplay)

1942

Spy Ship B. Reeves Eason (US) Harry Neumann (US) Robert E. Kent (screenplay); George Dyer (story)

1942

Underground Agent Michael Gordon (US) L. William O’Connell (US) J. Robert BrenGladys Atwater (screenplay & story)

1942

Unseen Enemy John Rawlins (US) Thomas W. Boyle (US) Roy ChanslorStanley Rubin (screenplay); George Wallace Sayre (story)

1943

Above Suspicion Richard Thorpe (US) Robert Planck (US) Keith Winter, Melville Baker & Patricia Coleman (screenplay); Helen MacInnes (novel)

1943

Appointment in Berlin Alfred E. Green (US) Franz Planer (Czech Republic; US career: 1938) Michael Hogan & Horace McCoy (screenplay); B.P. Fineman (story) 

1943

Assignment in Brittany Jack Conway (US) Charles Rosher (UK; US career) Anthony Veiller, William H. Wright & Howard Emmett Rogers (screenplay); Helen MacInnes (novel)

1943

Behind the Rising Sun Edward Dmytryk (Canada; US career) Russell Metty (US) Emmet Lavery (screenplay); James Young (novel)

1943

Bomber’s Moon Edward Ludwig (Russia; US career) & Harold D. Shuster  (US) [together as “Charles Fuhr”] Lucien Ballard (US) Kenneth Gamet & Aubrey Wisburg (screenplay); Leonard Lee (story)

1943

China John Farrow (Australia; US career) Leo Tover (US) Frank Butler (screenplay); Archibald Forbes (play, The Fourth Brother)

1943

Edge of Darkness Lewis Milestone (Moldova; US career) Sid Hickox (US) Robert Rossen (screenplay); William Woods (novel)

1943

First Comes Courage Dorothy Arzner (US) Joseph Walker (US) Melvin Levy & Lewis Meltzer (screenplay); Elliott Arnold (novel, The Commandos)

1943

Five Graves to Cairo Billy Wilder (Poland; US career: 1934) John F. Seitz (US) Charles BrackettBilly Wilder (screenplay); Lajos Bíró (play)
1943 The Gorilla Man D. Ross Lederman (US) James Van Trees (US) Anthony Coldeway (screenplay)

1943

Hitler’s Madman Douglas Sirk (Germany; US career: 1943) Jack Greenhaigh (US) & Eugen Schüfftan (Poland; US career: 1940) Peretz Hirschbein, Melvin Levy, Doris Malloy & Edgar G. Ulmer [uncredited] (screenplay); Albrecht Joseph & Emil Ludwig (story)

1943

Hostages Frank Tuttle (US) Victor Milner (US) Frank Butler & Lester Cole (screenplay); Stefan Heym (novel)

1943

I Escaped from the Gestapo [No Escape] Harold Young (US) Ira Morgan (US) Henry Blankfort & Wallace Sullivan (screenplay); Henry Blankfort (story)

1943

Night Plane from Chungking Ralph Murphy (US) Theodor Sparkuhl (Germany; US career: 1928) Lestor Cole, Earl Fenton & Theodore Reeves (screenplay); Harry Hervey (story)

1943

Submarine Alert Edward Ludwig [as Charles Fuhr] (Russia; US career) Fred Jackman Jr. (US) Maxwell Shane (screenplay)

1943

This Land Is Mine Jean Renoir (France) Frank Redman (US) Dudley Nichols (screenplay)

1943

Tonight We Raid Calais John Brahm (Germany; US career: 1937) Lucien Ballard (US) Waldo Salt (screenplay); L. Willinger & Rohama Lee (story)

1943

Two Tickets to London Edwin L. Marin (US) Milton Krasner (US) Tom Reed (screenplay); Roy William Neill (story)

1943

Women in Bondage Steve Sekely (Hungary; US career: 1939) Mack Stengler (US) Houston Branch (screenplay); Frank Wisbar (story)

1944

The Hour Before the Dawn Frank Tuttle (US) John F. Seitz (US) Michael Hogan (screenplay); W. Somerset Maugham (novel)

1944

Secret Command Eddie Sutherland (UK; US career) Franz Planer (Czech Republic; US career: 1937) Roy Chanslor (screenplay); John Hawkins & Ward Hawkins (story, “The Saboteurs”)

1944

Secrets of Scotland Yard George Blair (UK; US career) William Bradford (US) Denison Clift (screenplay)

1944

The Seventh Cross Fred Zinnemann (Austria; US career) Karl Freund (Czech Republic; US career: 1929) Helen Deutsch (screenplay); Anna Seghers (novel)

1944

Storm Over Lisbon George Sherman (US) John Alton (Hungary; US career) Doris Gilbert (screenplay); Elizabeth Meehan (story)

1944

Tampico Lothar Mendes (Germany; US career: 1926) Charles G. Clarke (US) Kenneth Gamet, Richard Macaulay & Fred Niblo Jr. (screenplay); Ladislos Fodor (story)

1944

Two-Man Submarine Lew Landers (US) James Van Trees (US) Griffin Jay & Leslie T. White (screenplay); Robert Creighton Williams (story)

1944

Uncertain Glory Raoul Walsh (US) Sidney Hickox (US) László VadnayMax Brand (screenplay); Joe May & László Vadnay (story)

1944

Waterfront Steve Sekely (Hungary; US career: 1939) Robert E. Cline (US) Martin Mooney & Irwin Franklyn (screenplay)

1945

Blood on the Sun Frank Lloyd (UK; US career) Theodor Sparkuhl (Germany; US career: 1928) Lester Cole (screenplay); Garret Fort (story)

1945

Dangerous Partners Edward L. Cahn (US) Karl Freund (Czech Republic; US career: 1929) Marion Parsonnet (screenplay); Eleanor Perry (story, “Paper Chase”)

1945

Escape in the Desert Edward A. Blatt (Poland; US career) Robert Burks (US) Marvin Borowsky, Thomas Job (screenplay); Robert E. Sherwood (play, The Petrified Forest)

1945

Hotel Berlin Peter Godfrey (UK; US career) Carl E. Guthrie (US) Jo Pagano & Alvah Bessie (screenplay); Vicki Baum (novel)

1945

The Man from Morocco Mutz Greenbaum [as Max Green] (Germany; UK, US career: 1931) Basil Emmott (UK) & Geoffrey Faithful (UK) Edward Dryhurst (screenplay); Rudolph Cartier (story)

1945

Paris Underground [Madame Pimpernel] Gregory Ratoff (Russia; US career) Lee Garmes (US) & Edward Cronjager [uncredited] (US) Boris Ingster & Gertrude Purcell (screenplay); Etta Shiber (story)

1945

Prison Ship Arthur Dreifuss (Germany; US career) Philip Tannura (US) Josef Mischel & Ben Markson (screenplay); Josef Mischel (story)

1946

Deadline for Murder James Tinling (US) Benjamin H. Kline (US) Irving Cummings Jr. (screenplay & story)

1946

Step by Step Phil Rosen (Poland; US career) Frank Redman (US) Stuart Palmer (screenplay); George Callahan (story)

 

Addendum

I have also identified the following two WWII-related spy noirs that were released after my cutoff date of 1946.

1948

The Iron Curtain William A. Wellman (US) Charles G. Clarke (US) Milton Krims (screenplay); Igor Kouzenko (personal story)

1948

Rogues’ Regiment Robert Florey (France; US career) Maury Gertsman (US) Robert Buckner (screenplay); Robert Florey (story)