Resisting Enemy Interrogation

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Resisting Enemy Interrogation
'Resisting Enemy Interrogation'.jpeg
Resisting Enemy Interrogation film
Directed by Bernard Vorhaus
Produced by Ronald Reagan (producer)
Written by
  • Harold Medford
  • Owen Crump
Starring
Narrated by Lloyd Nolan
Music by David Rose
Production
company
Distributed by U.S. Army Air Forces
Release date
  • July 1944 (1944-07)
Running time
70 minutes, 66 minutes (edited)
Country United States
Language
  • English
  • German

Resisting Enemy Interrogation is a 1944 United States Army docudrama training film, directed by Bernard Vorhaus and written by Harold Medford and Owen Crump. The cast includes Arthur Kennedy, Mel Tormé, Lloyd Nolan, Craig Stevens and Peter Van Eyck. Resisting Enemy Interrogation was intended to train United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) crews to resist interrogation by the Germans.

Resisting Enemy Interrogation received an Academy Award nomination in 1944 for best feature-length documentary.

Plot[edit]

In 1944, German intelligence strives to find the target of an upcoming raid by the reputed "B-99 bomber". To achieve this end, they interrogate a recently shot-down aircrew from a B-99 reconnaissance mission that was shot down over Italy. The aircrew is sent to Dulag Luft POW camp.

The German officers, commanded by Major von Behn (Carl Esmond) use various methods to discover this information, some of them quite subtle. While interviewing Lieutenant Frank L. Williams, Jr. (Don Porter) and Captain James Spencer (James Seay), the two airmen at first resist any probing for information. Other members of the crew include Sergeant Alfred Mason (Arthur Kennedy) and

Though no physical brutality is used, the Germans at one point stage a mock execution to scare a prisoner. Another prisoner is subjected to isolation to heighten his fear. Red Cross officers and a nurse (Poldi Dur) use their positions to extract information from the prisoners. Each airman eventually provides useful information because of their arrogance, fear or naivety. Some of what they say, which the enemy finds useful, seems innocuous but is used by the Germans as pieces to solve the larger puzzle.

In the end, the Germans are able to determine the target of the raid and the B-99 bombing mission is intercepted. The intended target is spared heavy damage with 21 B-99s shot down and the loss of 105 aircrew.

The U.S. intelligence officer (Lloyd Nolan) in his briefing to the surviving members of the raid, stresses not to talk under any circumstances, concerned that the danger of talking too much, even innocuous conversation can help the enemy. He also states not to let down one's guard, that everything in a prison camp is suspect, and to not try to outwit the enemy.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography for Resisting Enemy Interrogation took place at the Hal Roach Studios. Aside from brief voice-over narration at the beginning and a speech by Lloyd Nolan at the end, the film is presented in dramatic form. According to screenwriter Owen Crump, from the First Motion Picture Unit, the secluded Bavarian chateau that appears in the film at the beginning was a process shot based on a picture post card. After the war, Crump said two aviators visited Warner Bros. studios. During the war, they were taken to the same chateau for interrogation. Recognizing it from Resisting Enemy Interrogation , the two fliers were so amused that they kept breaking into laughter, completely baffling their captors.[1]

Stock footage of Douglas A-20 Havoc, Lockheed Hudson, Martin B-26 Marauder and North American B-25 Mitchell bombers were featured in the aerial combat sequence. The German aircraft were a combination of stock footage and models of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters that made the interception.

Reception[edit]

Resisting Enemy Interrogation was typical of the propaganda films of the period produced under the auspices of the Office of War Information.[2] The film was distributed and exhibited by the USAAF primarily to air force personnel but was released as a theatrical feature in New York in August 1944.

Remake[edit]

In 1950, the film story of Resisting Enemy Interrogation was purchased from Harold Medford to be made in a Universal-International motion picture with a working title of "Prisoner of War."[3] The film, entitled Target Unknown, was released by Universal in 1951 with a screenplay by Medford. It was directed by George Sherman with a cast led by Mark Stevens. The climax of the film is changed to an escape of the prisoners.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Notes: 'Resisting Enemy Interrogation' (1944)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: April 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Koppes and Black 1987, p. 58.
  3. ^ "Hollywood Dossier." The New York Times, April 30, 1950.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Koppes, Clayton R. and Gregory D. Black. Hollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies. New York, The Free Press, 1987. ISBN 0-02-903550-3.

External links[edit]