Watch Confessions of a Nazi Spy
- 1 hr 44 min
In the spring of 1939, Warner Bros. released Confessions of a Nazi Spy, a film that would become the first major Hollywood production to directly confront the rising threat of Nazi propaganda and espionage in the United States. Directed by Anatole Litvak and starring Edward G. Robinson, George Sanders, and Francis Lederer, the film tells the story of FBI agent Edward Renard (Robinson) as he tracks down a network of Nazi spies operating in New York City. The film opens with the arrival of Heinrich Hoffman (played by Paul Lukas), a German-American businessman who has returned to the United States after spending several years working in Germany. Renard becomes suspicious of Hoffman when he learns that he has been using his connections to spread Nazi propaganda in the United States, and he begins to investigate him with the help of FBI Special Agent Ed Bull (played by John Beal). As Renard and Bull dig deeper into Hoffman's activities, they discover a vast network of Nazi spies operating throughout New York City. Led by Dr. Karl Kassel (played by Lederer), the Nazis use a variety of tactics to gather information about American military and industrial facilities, including recruiting American citizens as spies, using hidden microphones to eavesdrop on conversations, and even resorting to violence when necessary. Despite the risks, Renard and Bull continue their investigation, risking their lives to gather evidence against the Nazi spies. They are aided in their efforts by a group of patriotic Americans, including a New York Times reporter (played by Dorothy Tree) and a German-American doctor (played by George Sanders), who are horrified by the Nazi threat. The film's climactic scene takes place in a courtroom, where Renard and Bull present their evidence against the Nazi spies. Hoffman, Kassel, and several of their associates are arrested and put on trial for espionage, and the judge delivers a stern warning to anyone who would attempt to undermine American democracy. Confessions of a Nazi Spy was a commercial and critical success upon its release, despite receiving strong criticism from both the German and American governments. The Nazis condemned the film as anti-German propaganda, while some American politicians accused Warner Bros. of trying to drag the United States into another war. Despite these criticisms, the film is widely regarded as an important landmark in American cinema, both for its bold depiction of the dangers of Nazi propaganda and the bravery of the FBI agents who worked to combat it. Today, Confessions of a Nazi Spy stands as a powerful reminder of the importance of vigilance in the face of tyranny, and a testament to the enduring power of the American spirit.