The House on 92nd Street [DVD] 
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A stentorian narrator tells us that the USA was flooded with Nazi spies in 1939-41. One such tries to recruit college grad Bill Dietrich, who becomes a double agent for the FBI. While Bill trains in Hamburg, a street-accident victim proves to have been spying on atom-bomb secrets; conveniently, Dietrich is assigned to the New York spy ring stealing these secrets. Can he track down the mysterious "Christopher" before his ruthless associates unmask and kill him?
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Top Customer Reviews
"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
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw this film when first issued way back and still find it most interesting and enjoyab;ePublished 11 months ago by very old fan
Awesome film, I really enjoyed it. Quick delivery and the item was in perfect condition.Published 22 months ago by V. streymoy
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. Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2014 by Rusi Mahudawala
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.Published on 23 Dec. 2013 by Christopher D L Bell
Based on a true story I really enjoyed this dvd, which was well wrapped. and was very good value for money. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by buyright,.