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The House on 92nd Street

The House on 92nd Street DVD cover
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Produced by Louis De Rochemont
Written by Charles G. Booth (story)
Barré Lyndon
Jack Moffitt
John Monks Jr.
Starring William Eythe
Lloyd Nolan
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Norbert Brodine
Editing by Harmon Jones
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date(s) September 10, 1945 (U.S. release)
Running time 88 min
Language English

The House on 92nd Street is a 1945 black-and-white film in the film noir genre. The movie (unlike its follow up, The Street with No Name) was shot mainly in New York City. The film was directed by Henry Hathaway and won screenwriter Charles G. Booth an Academy Award for the best original motion picture story. The film's scenes with FBI agents in Washington were played by actual agents. Released shortly after the end of World War II, The House on 92nd Street was made by Twentieth Century Fox with the full cooperation of the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover appears during the introduction. The film's semidocumentary style inspired other films including The Naked City.

The movie is a drama about the destruction of a Nazi spy ring operating in the US. Lloyd Nolan would reprise his role as Inspector Briggs in the sequel, The Street with No Name (1948). In that film, Briggs and the FBI agents would take on organized crime.

The film is also a thinly disguised version of the FBI's real-life Duquesne Spy Ring saga of 1941, the largest convicted espionage case in the history of the United States. On January 2, 1942, 33 Nazi spies, including the ring leader Fritz Joubert Duquesne (also known as "The man who killed Kitchener"), were sentenced to serve a total of over 300 years in prison. One German spymaster later commented that the ring’s roundup delivered ‘the death blow’ to their espionage efforts in the United States. J. Edgar Hoover called his concerted FBI swoop on Duquesne's ring the greatest spy roundup in U.S. history.[1]

Contents

Reaction

In 1945, a New York Times review written by Thomas M. Prior notes "The House on Ninety-second Street barely skims the surface of our counterespionage operations, but it reveals sufficient of the FBI's modus operandi to be intriguing on that score alone." [1]

Although praised when released in 1945, the film when released on DVD in 2005 received mostly mixed reviews. Christopher Null, writing for Filmcritic.com, writes, "today it comes across as a bit goody-goody, pandering to the FBI, pedantic, and not noirish at all." [2]

Featured cast

Actor Role
William Eythe Bill Dietrich
Lloyd Nolan Agent George A. Briggs
Signe Hasso Elsa Gebhardt
Gene Lockhart Charles Ogden Roper
Leo G. Carroll Col. Hammersohn

Awards

  • Won 1946 Oscar (Original Motion Picture Story) — Charles G. Booth
  • Nominated for 1945 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay - Charles G. Booth, Barre Lyndon, John Monks, Jr.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Obituary. Fritz Joubert Duquesne". Time. June 24, 1956. ISSN 0040-781X.  

External links

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