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4.4 out of 5 stars
13 Rue Madeleine [DVD] [1946]
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 April 2013
"13 Rue Madeleine," (1947). This American postwar black and white World War II spy thriller was deliberately held back until the end of the war, to avoid giving the Axis powers any clue as to how our new spy service, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), worked. It's a classic action/adventure/drama, directed by Henry Hathaway, filmed on location in Quebec, standing in for occupied France, in a semi-documentary style that was new then, and had audiences flocking to the theaters. Viewers may notice that, to be extra careful, the OSS is never mentioned by name in this film. Louis de Rochmont produced; he and Hathaway had also made the New York based World War II spy thriller The House on 92nd Street, pioneering the semi-documentary style. 13 RUE MADELEINE now survives in an uneasy half-life, probably because of its star, James Cagney. The pint-sized former song and dance man -- and ultimate player of gangsters -- plays Robert Emmett "Bob" Sharkey, former spy himself, kicked upstairs to teach the first classes of fledgling spies at O.S.S.

Sharkey finds that one of his agents in training is a Nazi double, but decides not to arrest him. Instead, Sharkey decides to feed the double agent false information about the Allied invasion of Europe. Meanwhile, a team of agents goes to France to find a secret V-2 rocket depot. But the German spy has not been fooled, murders another of Sharkey's men, and manages to rejoin his people. He now knows too much and Sharkey has made a decision that came back to haunt him. Knowing he faces tremendous risks, Sharkey goes into France himself to try to clean up his mess.

Cagney, (Yankee Doodle Dandy ,The Public Enemy) receives able support from the beauteous French actress Annabella, who was married to heartthrob Tyrone Power at the time. However, she's wasted in her part as Suzanne de Beaumont, telegraph operator. Also providing able backing are Richard Conte ( New York Confidential) as Bill O'Connell; Frank Latimore as Jeff Lassiter; Walter Abel (The Three Musketeers) as Sharkey's boss Charles Gibson, and Sam Jaffe (Ben-Hur ) as Mayor Galimard of the French village in the eye of the storm. The young actors Red Buttons and Karl Malden have unaccredited parts as jump masters. The young E.G. Marshall plays Emile. The notorious Russian spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg appear as themselves in archival footage.

The movie is dated, sometimes unrealistic, perhaps excessively patriotic and naïve for modern tastes but Cagney and Conte have meaty roles and do well by them. Oh, and the title? 13 Rue Madeleine is the address of the Gestapo in Le Havre, nearest big city to where the action in France is taking place. It becomes important in the film, though not necessarily to the viewer. However, the film still has some entertainment value thanks to its players.
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on 13 November 2017
That’s what is situated at 13, Rue Madaleine. You basically don’t want to go there. The film is a semi-documentary narrative covering what goes on in the spy world. It is narrated in this way for way too long and throws in fictional characters as portrayed by actors. It also rockets information at you in that quickfire manner that irritates. We get Jimmy Cagney clowning around in his clown-style of acting – throwing dialogue at us in that incredibly unrealistic fashion that he seems to think passes as acting. We won’t mention his looks but, obviously, there are sections of this film where you just laugh at him. Richard Conte comes off best in terms of actual acting and watch out for an appearance by Karl Malden as a pilot – didn’t expect that, but he is convincing as always. The film is predictable, it’s a bit boring, and there is nothing to really care about as we pretty much know what is going to happen. The good guys win. End of narrative.

When I was a spy, I never got caught because I worked alone. Granted, nothing really happened but I’m still alive to tell the tale. I was more involved in propping up bars across London and seeing if anyone ever approached me. No-one ever did except the bartender to tell me it was last orders and time to go home. So, I quit and decided to do something else. I was only really part-time anyway.

A couple of scenes stand out in this film – the plane jump where there is actual tension thanks to a staring Conte and the ending which provides us with a scary giggling Cagney. It’s an ok film but I expected better.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 March 2016
Named after the Le Havre location where those dastardly Gestapo men try to extricate secrets from Allied collaborators, Henry Hathaway’s 1947 film (eventually) finds James Cagney’s 'unconvincing Frenchman’ and US secret service man, Bob Sharkey, holed up (and trying to hold out) in the midst of all that his adversaries can throw at him. Following a relatively pedestrian (if historically interesting) opening, in which we get (patriotic voiceover included) forensic, documentary-like, detail on 'undercover secret service training’, Hathaway’s film ultimately provides a good deal of tense drama, intricate plotting and nice reveals, as 'Sharkey’s men’ find themselves behind enemy lines (in Holland, then France) looking to sabotage a V2 rocket factory, whilst attempting to conceal the planned date of the Second Front (Allied invasion of Europe).

As Sharkey’s '077’ men (and women) learn of their proposed 'mission impossible’-like excursion into enemy territory, we learn that there is an undercover German agent among them, creating tensions between Richard Conte’s smooth-talking Bill O’Connell and Frank Latimore’s fellow agent Jeff Lassiter. Double-cross follows double-cross as Sharkey finds himself an integral part of the mission, feigning an id as part of the (collaborationist) Vichy government and eventually being (inadvertently) accosted by the French resistance. Hathaway’s film has some great moments of mistaken identity and deception, as true identities can only be verified via the exchange (between France and London) of coded messages over the radio. Acting-wise, Cagney (otherwise a great actor) does a solid job with an admittedly uninspiring script, whilst Conte impresses as the nefarious O’Connell and Sam Jaffe is good as the duplicitous French Mayor Galimard. Karl Malden also turns up in an early brief cameo role as an aircraft 'jump-master’.

It’s a film that provides some intriguing detail around war-time espionage and is worth sticking with through to what is quite a powerful, and rather surprising, denouement.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 June 2012
O.S.S. agents are in training for work behind enemy lines in WWII. Upon receiving his latest batch of trainees, training leader Bob Sharkey is informed one of the rookies is actually a German mole. Letting the mole continue thinking he is undetected, Sharkey feeds the mole false information about important upcoming operations. But as Sharkey arranges his agents missions, and that of the mole, things go wrong and Sharkey himself must go into occupied France and risk the wrath of the Gestapo at 13 Rue Madeleine.

13 Rue Madeleine is a very efficient and enjoyable War/Spy/Thriller, it's directed by multi genre helmsman Henry Hathaway and stars acting legend James Cagney as Sharkey. Tho playing a tough guy, this is quite far removed from the sort of roles that defined Cagney's career, he's ably supported by Richard Conte and Walter Abel, but in all honesty it's Cagney's film all the way. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the majority of the picture feels like a documentary, or more a sort of public service explanation on the History Channel, not a bad thing exactly, but the dulcet narration is something I personally could have done without. However once the picture nicely turns its attention to the crucial mission, things start heating up and the film becomes a film in the truer sense of the word. We are fully engaged with the central characters having been with them thru Sharkey's training school, and as the (fabulous) ending draws closer, it's hoped that the majority of viewers are as involved with the plot as I personally was. Because then when the end does come, it impacts the way the makers hoped it would.

A very commendable picture and certainly recommended to fans of Cagney, Conte and this type of movie. 7/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 October 2013
This is an underrated masterpiece.

Starts in a semi-documentary style and then slips into overdrive as an action/thriller set in the days preceeding the D-Day landings.

Class acting from James Cagney,Richard Conte,Sam Jaffe and a little known actress,Annabella.

It's as enjoyable today as it must have been in the late 1940's when first released,and is also a good history lesson of the American O.S.S. who operated alongside our own S.O.E. in Europe.

Gripping from start to finish.

Congratulations to the marketers of this DVD(my copy release date 2004): it's a black and white film and the publicity jacket is also in black and white----No Misleading Colour Photos.
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on 3 March 2018
Have seen this film..... based on a true story. Cagney was always great. Enjoy his performances. Rue Madeleine was a building the Nazis used for a specific purpose - to extricate information by any means. Old style movie.... love it!!!!
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on 18 August 2010
A totally marvelous film depicting the setting up of a spy organization in the U.S. during World War 11. James Cagney shed his usual tough guy image in gangster films to portray the head of the unit. He is one tough dedicated American. The film wonderfully captures the training that the prospective spies received. It also tells that one of them is really a German agent. Annabella is convincing as one of the trainees who yearns for information regarding her missing husband in France. Richard Conte is quite effective as the German spy who is cunning beyond belief. His cruelty is on par with his fabulous performance years later as Tony Bardman in "I'll Cry Tomorrow." Though a tragic film, the film should serve to show the dedication of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War 11.
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on 3 August 2017
Great film. Full of suspense. Would highly recommend it.
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on 5 January 2017
An unusual role for cagney in my opinion but as usual a stunning performance the films ok .
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on 12 November 2017
Yes, yes and yes
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