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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many spies, many twists in this well-done, clever B-movie, 11 Sept. 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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British Intelligence has more betrayals than a faculty tenure meeting, more twists and turns than a lobbyist testifying before Congress. It takes place in London in 1917. World War I seems an endless conflict, with British secrets making their way to the Germans and the British determined to catch the master German spy, Franz Strendler. This is a great example of a solid B movie, carefully crafted, that packs more complex adventure into 61 minutes than you might believe.

Let's see...there's Boris Karloff as Valdar, a French refugee serving as a butler in the household of Arthur Bennett (Holmes Herbert), a British cabinet minister. Or is Valdar really a German spy, Karl Schiller? Wait, is he a British spy after all? There's Margaret Lindsay...is she an English nurse near the front lines or is she a German spy, Helene Von Lorbeer? Or is she a refugee, Frances Hautry? Or perhaps she's one of the best spies the British have. And hidden from them all is the mysterious, ruthless German, Franz Strendler. "He has no soul, no conscience," one character says. "He'd kill you or me...for duty." It all comes together one night when the British cabinet comes to Arthur Bennett's home for a secret meeting. Overhead, German zeppelins begin a bombing attack on a darkened London. With explosives tearing the night apart, Strendler shows his hand with a bomb designed to obliterate the cabinet members. Colonel James Yates (Leonard Mudie), head of British Intelligence, leads a well-planned countermove that reveals who really are the German spies. Strendler almost succeeds...but almost isn't good enough.

British Intelligence was designed to explain the stakes of the new conflict to American audiences and to demonstrate the unshakeable resolve of the British. One Prussian officer wearing a spiked helmet has this to say at the start of the movie: "Victory must be ours! We have but one objective...to win the war even if we have to fight the entire world! No nation, no group of nations can stop our advance...the advance of German culture! We are destined to conquer the world!"

But Colonel Yates of British Intelligence has the last word. "We fight wars," he says, "only because we crave peace so ardently, and we pray that each war will be the last. But always in the strange scheme of things some maniac with a lust for power arises and in one moment destroys the peace and tranquility we've created through the ages. We hate war. We despise it. But when war comes, we must and will fight on and on and on..."

As I say, it's a B movie but well crafted. Boris Karloff does a fine job, whether staring at a person with icy eyes or obsequiously shuffling away with a limp and a bowed head. This Alpha Video DVD looks surprisingly good. The picture is soft but clean, barely faded and easy to look at. There are no extras.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A corking little thriller, 19 May 2012
This review is from: British Intelligence [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
I didn't expect much of this, a one hour-long programmer made in 1940, cashing in on the one famous name (Karloff) in an otherwise unknown cast, probably reworking a tired old plot done much better in films such as "Secret Agent" and "The Spy in Black"...
But then, what do I know?
Set mainly in London during the final year of the Great War, this film tells the story of British efforts to catch Strendler, the German master spy who constantly betrays secrets to his masters in Berlin despite the best efforts of Scotland Yard and M.I.5 to catch him. Traps are set, double-agents planted, all to no avail, since even the agents set to catch him are often German spies themselves.. or are they?
To reveal any more details of the plot would be to give it away; suffice it to say that the twists and turns never let up, and the film somehow always manages to stay just this side of caricature. Obviously the film had a motive other than just commercial - in 1940 Britain was trying to persuade America to come into WW2 on the allied side, so what better way to do so than show them that the German enemy in 1940 was the same one they faced in 1917 (in case there is any doubt about this, we see columns of Doughboys marching through London en route to the front not long into the film). However, such overt propaganda does no harm to the film. The only slightly tawdry part of it is the frequent use of out-takes from "Hell's Angels" at the beginning, but this is more than compensated for by a sequence at the film's climax, where German Zeppelins are shown thundering their way through clouds and moonlight on the way to bomb London - models are used, but the photography is quite beautiful and puts a lovely finishing touch to a film that remains taut throughout and never disappoints.
Deserves to be better-known, and thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather enjoyable, 28 Feb. 2012
By 
Ms. Nicola J. Booth "Nicola" (Guildford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Intelligence [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
Its so hard to find a decent film to watch, this one hits the spot for me. As the other reviewers have mentioned there's more twists and turns, betrayals etc, it definitely worth the listed price. A rather good Boris Karloff film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Oct. 2014
very good thanks
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Inteligence DVD, 30 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: British Intelligence [DVD] [1940] (DVD)
This film is full of twist and turns and at times it is difficult to work out who is who but worth watching
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British Intelligence [DVD] [1940]
British Intelligence [DVD] [1940] by Terry Morse Jr. (DVD - 2009)
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