British Intelligence (1940)

     On January 29, 1940, First National Pictures, the Warner Brothers “B” film company, released the spy thriller British Intelligence (1940).  The film is set in Britain during World War I.  Released almost two years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the film showed that Hollywood and probably most of the countries sympathies were with Britain and the Allies.

     While British Intelligence is a “B” film, its production values are higher because Warner Brothers released the film instead of a “Poverty Row” film corporation like Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC).  British Intelligence contains enough plot twists to confuse anyone about who is spying for who.


Boris Karloff from the Public Domain

     Margaret Lindsay, one of the starlets of the “B” film genre, plays Frances Hautry, a German spy.  Through planted agents in Britain, Hautry is introduced to the house of cabinet minister Arthur Bennet.  Hautry reports to the butler Valdar, ostensibly a Frenchmen injured by the Germans, but actually a German spy.   Valdar works for Franz Strendler, the German spymaster.

     Strendler is planning an attack on the cabinet, which Valdar and Hautry must facilitate.  Complicating the plot is the return to the Bennet house of young British airman Frank Bennet.  Hautry, in her guise as nurse Helene Von Lorbeer, nursed Frank back to health, when he crashed in France.

     Like most “B” films, British Intelligence is about an hour in length.  It is available on Amazon and other streaming services.  Give the film a chance and let me know what you think of the it.

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