House on 92nd Street [Blu-ray]
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The great Henry Hathaway (23 Paces to Baker Street) directed this classic film noir set in New York City during World War II - The House On 92nd Street is a riveting spy thriller. Reporting to FBI counterterrorist agent George Briggs (Lloyd Nolan, Somewhere in the Night), William Dietrich (William Eythe, Wing and a Prayer) becomes a double agent in order to infiltrate a cell of German spies gathering information about construction of the atom bomb. Hoping to identify its highest-level operatives, the FBI allows the spy ring to continue operations in their 92nd Street headquarters. As the Nazis close in on the bomb, the tension explodes in this gripping film! The great cast includes Signe Hasso (The Seventh Cross), Gene Lockhart (Meet John Dow) and Leo G. Carroll (Spellbound).
Special Features: Audio Commentary by Film Noir Historian Eddie Muller | Trailers
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Top customer reviews
The period scenes alone justify a viewing - New York in the forties, the 1939-42 cars, the fashions, the FBI technology sections.
As for the performances:
An excellent character is portrayed by Harry Bellavar, later of TV's "Naked City". There are two small bits by later character stars E.G. Marshall and VIncent Gardenia [Bronson's foil in "Death Wish"]
Above all, the unique charm of Signe Hasso, seen all too rarely by American audiences- a compelling villainess in an era of male-dominated pro- and antagonist.
Not withstanding the propaganda element of the script and especially the narrative portion [ necessary to secure FBI support, no doubt], the dialogue itself is totally economical and germane to the situation.
I count this among no more than 10 films of the era I would cheerfully own and view frequently.
Most assuredly it is a bald face propaganda film but in the context of what was acceptable in the 1940's & 1950's, when I grew up it, is very entertaining.
Today with what we know about J. Edgar Hoover it is even more interesting. What propaganda! Just look at all those people in Washington DC FBI HQ who today are all replaced by computers. Check out the 1945 version of NCIS and CSI forensic investigation.
Signe Hasso is stunning though quite evil in this film. I would like to see something else she may have done in english language films.
Great shots of NYC when there were few, if any, towers on the upper east side. Just imagine what the rent would be on The House on 92nd St. at todays rates.
I thoughly enjoyed the move.