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In 1780 Major John Boulton is recruited by Colonial intelligence as a counterspy who will feign desertion to the British forces. His mission is to discover the identity of an American traitor with the code name Gustavus. Although prominent Tory Dr. Odell suspects Boulton of being a double agent, the spy wins the friendship and respect of British spymaster Major John Andre and, in doing so, discovers that the traitor is none other than American hero, General Benedict Arnold, who is planning to surrender the key colonial position of West Point to the English.Written by
This film was John Sturges's last movie as a contract studio director. See more »
"Blow the Man Down" is heard on the soundtrack during a scene involving the man o' war. The sea shanty was composed anonymously in the 1860s, eighty-odd years after the incidents in this film. See more »
Maj. John Andre:
[to Dr. Odell]
You know, doctor, a man shows his character by the way he handles a sword.
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Although Cornel Wilde gets top billing as an American double agent, the true star of this film is Major John Andre (Michael Wilding), the British officer who was captured as a spy and hanged for his plot with Benedict Arnold to betray West Point. Unfortunately the acting is wooden by almost everyone, so a good story and some interesting moral dilemmas are hard to hit home.
My one and only favorite American Revolution film is John Ford's classic "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939). "The Crossing" (2000) runs a distant second. Most of the rest, like "The Devil's Disciple" (1959), "The Howards of Virginia" (1940), and "John Paul Jones" (1959) are merely OK and some, like The Patriot" (2000) and "Revolution" (1985) are just plain silly. The Disney "Ben and Me" (1953) is entertaining and historically accurate (forgetting the mouse). The TV mini-series "The Adams Chronicles" (1976). "The Revolution" (2006), and "John Adams" (2008) are probably one of the best sources about the period. If you like Pre Revolution 18th Century American history, Michael Mann's breath-taking "Last of the Mohicans" (1992) is a great film from this period, as is King Vidor's "Northwest Passage" (1940).
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