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5.0 out of 5 stars Technical thread spot on.
I have enjoyed this film many times. As an active amateur radio operator, I was pleased to see the morse code was correct (as was the case in wartime films back then, due to so many service personnel in any prospective audience - who would have quite rightly pulled it to pieces otherwise!).I loved the sequence where the covert radio station was being built up, using...
Published on 20 Nov. 2012 by Tube-train

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The FBI, really cool, man.
The House on 92nd Street is directed by Henry Hathaway with a screenplay co-written by Jack Moffitt, Barré Lyndon and John Monks Jr, adapted from a story by Charles G. Booth. It stars William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Gene Lockhart and Leo G. Carroll. Music is by David Buttolph and photography Norbert Brodine.

"This story is adapted from cases in...
Published on 3 April 2011 by Spike Owen


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The FBI, really cool, man., 3 April 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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The House on 92nd Street is directed by Henry Hathaway with a screenplay co-written by Jack Moffitt, Barré Lyndon and John Monks Jr, adapted from a story by Charles G. Booth. It stars William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Gene Lockhart and Leo G. Carroll. Music is by David Buttolph and photography Norbert Brodine.

"This story is adapted from cases in the espionage files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Produced with the F.B.I.'s complete co-operation, it could not be made public until the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on Japan"

Thought to be based around the FBI's real life Duquesne Spy Ring case of 1941/42, where 33 Nazi spies were captured and sentenced to more than 300 years in prison, The House on 92nd Street is undoubtedly a historically interesting artifact of note. It's also a film whose influence on the sub-genre of semi-documentary crime film's is not in question, in fact, it can be held up as the forerunner of film's such as The Naked City. Yet watching it now it just comes across as an advertisement for how good the FBI are, while the effects used are archaic and extremely hard to get excited about. The acting, too, is pretty average at best, where no amount of arguing that it adds realism can account for some plainly delivered set-ups. One or two intriguing moments aside, it's a basically executed film set around a very good story. While film noir fans should be aware that although it's frequently mentioned as part of the film noir universe, it's really not very noir at all.

A semi-sequel called The Street with No Name followed in 1948, with Lloyd Nolan reprising his role as Inspector Briggs, and that itself was reworked into House of Bamboo in 1955, where the setting was Tokyo. Both of these film's are considerably better than Hathaway's FBI propaganda piece. 4/10
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reverential look at the FBI versus Nazi spies, with a sly performance by Leo G. Carroll, 29 July 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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"This story is adapted from the cases in the espionage files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Produced with the F.B.I.'s complete cooperation, it could not be made public until the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan." So reads the introduction. Despite 20th Century Fox marketing this DVD as a noir, it's just a pompous semi-documentary...a paean to the FBI. We're sitting in the church of J. Edgar Hoover and Hollywood has written the sermon and is leading the choir. For the first 20 minutes of this 87 minute movie we're taken on a tour of FBI resources, told of FBI dedication to fight spies..."vigilant, tireless, implacable"...and shown how FBI knowledge of German secret agents protected this nation, especially when it came to foiling Nazi plans to discover "Process 97" (the atomic bomb). If we're not grateful to the FBI by the time the story starts, we still have Reed Hadley's stentorian voice-over and a music score that's part soap opera, part grand opera to come to grips with.

Bill Dietrich (William Eythe), "a brilliant young student," is recruited in 1939 by the Nazi's in America to be a German agent just before he graduates. Dietrich immediately reports this to the FBI. They agree that he will take the offer and then, after training in Germany, become a double agent when the Nazis send him back to the States. When he arrives in New York, he joins a Nazi ring led by Elsa Gebhardt (Signe Hasso), a beautiful, icy blonde who owns a haute couture dress shop on 92nd Street. She rents the five story building, lives there and uses it as her cell's headquarters. Her cell seems to be made up of thugs, goons and manly women. Dietrich sets himself up as a contact point between Gebhardt's operation and Germany. All the while Dietrich is supplying the FBI with vital information about Gebhardt's activities. It's a dangerous game, particularly since Elsa and her team have not fully accepted Dietrich. At the same time, FBI agent George Briggs (Lloyd Nolan) is working with Dietrich to roll up the whole operation and to identify "Mr. Christopher," the unknown master spy behind everything. Then they realize that some of the information being readied for transmission to Germany has to do with the atomic bomb. The stakes now are huge. Not only must the Nazi ring be foiled and the plans kept from Germany, the traitor who is stealing the atomic secrets must be found and stopped. I can't tell you if the FBI is successful because I dislike spoilers.

The movie has such an air of self importance about it, like a collar with too much starch. It infects the actors, who give performances of either wooden, iron-jawed determination (the FBI) or wooden, sneering badness (the Nazi spies). William Eythe, a good-looking, sincere actor, is simply out of his depth as a resourceful double agent. Even Lloyd Nolan, who usually has a lot of crisp energy, is subdued by the need to always appear competent. More often than not we see him giving an order, then briskly marching out of the room, or giving an order and having the person he spoke to turn and briskly march out the room.

Three actors come up with two-and-a-half fine performances. Leo G. Carroll as Colonel Hammersohn, an aging German agent in New York, is a pleasure to watch. His character is crafty, cautious and always wears a wing collar and a Homburg. Carroll is first-rate in the part. Gene Lockhart is actually touching as a weak, chubby man with a great memory who breaks down when faced with the evidence of his crime. The half-point goes to Lydia St. Claire as Johanna Schmidt, the gestapo member of Elsa Gebhardt's cell. She's grim, gimlet-eyed and slaps around our hero with authority. It's a one-note performance but it's fun to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary "You Are There" Thriller, 2 May 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
"The House on 92nd Street," (1945), an 88 minute, black and white American thriller from the immediate postwar period, is a crime drama/ spy story with many claims to fame. The mystery has been classified as a film noir, which it is not, although it is in black and white, and does boast some deeply black scenes; perhaps it's best considered as an influential pre-film noir. It was written by Barre Lyndon and Charles G. Booth, directed by Henry Hathaway, and produced by Louis de Rochement, who did similar honors for the "March of Time" newsreels that used to be played in movie houses before the features. It pioneered the semi-documentary look in American filmmaking, which the public loved, and turned out for in droves. The same team of Hathaway and Rochemont would shortly make another semi-documentary address film, 13 Rue Madeleine [DVD], which would be followed by a boomlet of address-named films, and semi-documentary pictures. And, similarly to 13 RUE MADELEINE, it is a "now it can be told" picture, held back until the end of World War II, so as not to give any information to the Germans and their allies, our enemies at the time.

Similarly to a newsreel, the film opens with a stentorian voiceover from an announcer who sounds true-blue Federal Bureau of Investigation. He tells us that in the war years of 1939-41, America was overrun with German agents - the Axis powers suspected something was up, and it was. (Russian agents were also very active at the time, for the same reason, but this picture does not touch on that aspect of the war.) A fatal New York City taxi accident has occurred; during its investigation, the FBI discovers that the victim was a Nazi spy. Enter Bill Dietrich, a handsome young German-American post-graduate engineering student. The film tells us that the Nazis recruited him after he had visited Hamburg; the internet based Internet Movie Database(IMDb) tells us that the actual man on whom this character was based was German-born; the facts were changed quietly at the request of the FBI. At any rate, Dietrich goes to the FBI and agrees to be a double agent. Handily enough, Dietrich is assigned to break the New York spy ring, and to find the mysterious, ruthless Mr. Christopher.

The movie is based on fact to a very great degree, according to IMDb. "The scene near the beginning of the film where a man is killed by a car is based on a real-life incident. The victim was identified as Julio Lopez Lido but was in actuality Capt. Ulrich von der Osten, a Nazi army officer in the Abwehr (German military intelligence). He was struck and killed by a cab on March 18, 1941, and his body went unclaimed for a time. The man who ran from the scene was actually Kurt Frederick Ludwig, known as Joseph K, a German agent who was eventually caught and sentenced to Alcatraz Prison. He was deported in 1953. The cab driver who hit von der Osten was a man named Sam Lichtman." Furthermore, there was the Duquesne spy ring headed by Frederick Joubert Duquesne; the infamous Ritter case, and the work of real life double agent William G. Sebold. Finally, "the early surveillance footage of the 92nd Street house and the perp walks at the film's conclusion are real footage of Nazi agents."

Moreover, according to IMDb, "The movie deals with the theft by German spies of the fictional "Process 97," a secret formula which, the narrator tells us, "was crucial to the development of the atomic bomb." The movie was released on September 10, 1945, only a month after the atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan, and barely a week after Japan's formal surrender. While making the film, the actors and director Henry Hathaway did not know that the atomic bomb existed, or that it would be incorporated as a story element in the movie. (None of the actors in the film mentions the atomic bomb.) However, co-director/producer ... De Rochemont ... and narrator Reed Hadley were both involved in producing government films on the development of the atomic bomb. (Hadley was present at the final test of the bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in July, 1945.) After the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Hadley and screenwriter John Monks Jr. hastily wrote some additional voice-over narration linking "Process 97" to the atomic bomb, and Rochemont inserted it into the picture in time for the film's quick release." The film's makers also tried to "film where it actually happened," which, in the case of this movie, meant in the inimitably gritty wartime New York City. The house on 92nd Street actually existed - although on 93rd Street. (It has now been demolished.)

So why is the film so little-known? Several well-known actors were used in the film, and several made their debuts here. But the protagonist was played by William Eythe, a man with some charm, and Tyrone Power-like square jaws and strong black eyebrows. But, unfortunately, Eythe had an inconsequential film career; see bit parts in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, ON A WING AND A PRAYER, and was quite short-lived himself. The TV star and veteran actor Lloyd Nolan, Hannah and Her Sisters , Peyton Place [DVD], played agent George J. Briggs. Signe Hasso, who was born in Stockholm Sweden, didn't have quite the career she might have either, (she largely worked in TV, but also did HEAVEN CAN WAIT, and THE SEVENTH CROSS); she plays the conspirator Elsa Gebhardt. The Canadian-born Gene Lockhart, Miracle On 34th Street , His Girl Friday , Going My Way, Meet John Doe, plays Charles Ogden Roper. The English-born Leo G Carroll, who played in the popular TV series, Topper, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. , also made the films North By Northwest, and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, and played Colonel Hammersohn in the movie. E. G. Marshall, Vincent Gardenia and Paul Ford all made their debuts here. In addition, many nonprofessionals are seen in the film, usually playing themselves as FBI agents.

Many contemporary viewers will not feel nearly as warmly toward the FBI as the audiences of 1945 did. Still, the picture is worth a look for its extraordinary "you are there" qualities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Technical thread spot on., 20 Nov. 2012
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Tube-train (Kent, England.) - See all my reviews
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I have enjoyed this film many times. As an active amateur radio operator, I was pleased to see the morse code was correct (as was the case in wartime films back then, due to so many service personnel in any prospective audience - who would have quite rightly pulled it to pieces otherwise!).I loved the sequence where the covert radio station was being built up, using equipment typical of the time ( principles still used to this day by enthusiasts such as myself!). The part where double agent Deitrich is rumbled by one of the gang, due to the small size of the plug-in coils in the aerial matching circuits (which correctly suggested a VHF short-range link, rather than larger coils giving a world-wide HF facility), was an unexpected gem of observation! Well done the producer for keeping facts foremost - something that gets overlooked these days!
It remains a classic from that period of American films. A welcome addition to any retro film library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pre World War II Drama, 28 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
This is an excellent movie, but it is something like a documentary but it reveals a German Spy Link which existed in the USA at that time and shows how the FBI dealt with it. An excellent suspenseful movie and well enacted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly the ultimate in slow-burn Hitchock-style drama, 23 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Just watch it free of advert interruptions (shown often on commercial TV here in UK) where you can take it at it's own pace where it is best appreciated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a really great dvd, 30 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Based on a true story I really enjoyed this dvd, which was well wrapped. and was very good value for money. and surprisingly enough this dvd was delivered by royal mail well ahead of the expected time, so all in all I would certainly use this supplier again based on my recent experience,
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2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, 18 Jun. 2012
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Conti Raffaella "maitrepierre" (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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I found this movie disappointing. Acting is stiff and the story looks developed more to flatter immediate post-war FBI than anything else. The story was interesting per se, but I think it was treated in a boring way. Just think that it won an Oscar prize for screenwriting...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Sept. 2014
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V. streymoy (The Faroe Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Awesome film, I really enjoyed it. Quick delivery and the item was in perfect condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good company to deal with, 22 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Good quality video good company to deal with
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The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945]
The House on 92nd Street [DVD] [1945] by Henry Hathaway (DVD - 2012)
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