13 Rue Madeleine (1946)
Watch this movie just so you can get to 1:30:48-52 and understand the context. For a generation of Fight Club (1999) and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), this will probably be the defining moment of the movie you absolutely have to see. No cheating though, you have to watch the rest to get it.
I thought James Cagney was scary. Great, of course, but scary.
The first half of this movie was too similar to The House on 92nd street, probably because it used the same director, producer, and one of the writers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fascinating to see early training montage moments and an attempt at some kind of representative fiction of what really happened. It’s just boring and pompously pedantically propaganda-esque. When Frank Latimore’s character Jeff Lassiter dies, I was confused at first because I thought there was a twist and that Richard Conte’s Bill O’Connell had been killed and that Jeff was the traitor thereby endangering the mission in France and the upcoming invasion by Allied forces. Instead, they just needed a new agent in the field which was a little disappointing. On the plus side, I actually woke up a little at that point while trying to sort out the confusion and found the last half of the movie to be fairly enjoyable.
I know Joseph Breen’s office didn’t like the ending but that was some seriously badassery at the end. The landing location for the invasion force? It’s on my fist! They had to bring in more guys to take turns torturing him? And at the end, when he sees Kuncel? Probably one of the most memorable scenes from these early movies so far.
Go watch it, it is actually worth seeing.