AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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13 Rue Madeleine
Alternate Title: 32 Rue Madeleine
Director: Henry Hathaway (Dir)
Release Date:   Jan 1947
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 15 Jan 1947
Production Date:   late May--late Aug 1946
Duration (in mins):   95
Duration (in feet):   8,584
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   James Cagney (Robert Sharkey)  
    Annabella (Suzanne de Beaumont)  
    Richard Conte (Bill O'Connell, also known as Wilhelm Kuncel)  
    Frank Latimore (Jeff Lassiter)  
    Walter Abel (Charles Stevenson Gibson)  
    Melville Cooper (Pappy Simpson)  
    Sam Jaffe (Mayor Galimard)  
    Marcel Rousseau (Duclois)  
    Everett G. Marshall (Emile)  
    Blanche Yurka (Madame Thillot)  
    Peter Von Zerneck (Karl)  
    Alfred Linder (Hans Feinke)  
    Ben Low (Hotel clerk)  
    James Craven (R.A.F. Officer)  
    Roland Belanger (Joseph)  
    Alexander Kirkland (Briefing officer)  
    Donald Randolph (La Roche)  
    John Moore (Psychiatrist)  
    Leslie Barrie (Psychiatrist)  
    Richard Gordon (Psychiatrist)  
    Walter Greaza (Psychiatrist)  
    Charles Campbell (Psychiatrist)  
    Roland Winters (Van Duyval)  
    Frank De Langton (Athletic instructor)  
    Bob Morgan (Telegraph instructor)  
    Red Buttons (Dispatcher)  
    Peter Gowland (Dispatcher)  
    Otto Simanek (German staff officer)  
    Mario Gang (German officer)  
    Henry Rowland (German officer)  
    Martin Brandt (German officer)  
    Fred Nurney (German officer)  
    Arno Frey (German officer)  
    Frederic Brunn (German officer)  
    Julius Cramer (Gestapo officer)  
    Albert D'Arno (Gestapo officer)  
    Dick Wessel (Gestapo officer)  
    Harold Young (Tailor)  
    Peter Gowland (Dispatcher)  
    Karl Malden (Flyer)  
    Coby Neal (Flyer)  
    William Syran (Det. Inspector submarine plant)  
    Reginald Mason (Communications chief)  
    Sally McMarrow (Chief operator)  
    Edward Cooper (R.A.F. Officer)  
    Otto Reichow (German soldier)  
    Jean Del Val (French peasant)  
    James Craven (British radio announcer, voice only)  
    Reed Hadley (Narrator)  
    Durant Rice    
    William Mendrek    

Summary: During World War II, Charles Stevenson Gibson, a St. Louis attorney with an extensive background in international affairs, is chosen by President Roosevelt to organize the secret activities of a new Intelligence Corps. Gibson, in turn, selects Robert Sharkey, a widely traveled, multi-lingual scholar who served with distinction in World War I, to administer the complex training program. Selected groups of volunteers report to Washington for rigorous training before assignment overseas. In 1944, the candidates selected for the 77th group include Suzanne de Beaumont, a French citizen who became stranded in the U.S. when France fell, and whose husband is an artillery officer in the French army. Jeff Lassiter, the son of an American consul, educated in Geneva and Oxford and recruited from the Officers' Training School at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Bill O'Connell, a Rutgers graduate and former employee of the foreign department of a major bank, are also chosen. At a secluded country estate, the twenty-two candidates are given two weeks of intensive testing to see if they qualify for further training. Gibson tells Sharkey he knows that one of the candidates is a German agent and Sharkey is assigned to identify him. The group undergoes tough athletic drills, observation tests, instruction in Morse Code, interpretation of sounds, mock interrogations and hypothetical and actual missions. Lassiter and O'Connell, who are room-mates, are sent on a trial mission together. Sharkey is convinced that O'Connell is the German agent because he is too good to be a beginner. Gibson confirms Sharkey's opinion but wants O'Connell, whose real name is Wilhelm Kuncel, to go as planned to England, where he will be fed misinformation about the second front campaign. In London, Sharkey and O'Connell visit the Netherlands Section of Allied intelligence, and O'Connell absorbs false information on Plan "B," the invasion of Germany through the Lowlands. Suzanne and Lassiter, meanwhile, are assigned a mission in France, where they are to locate a Frenchman named Duclois who has built a factory in which the Germans are manufacturing V-2 rocket bombs. They plan to enter France via Holland and no one, including O'Connell, who is to accompany them, must know what their mission is. When Sharkey then tells Lassiter that O'Connell is a German agent, he is shocked, but agrees to shoot O'Connell if he threatens to defect. Just after a farewell dinner, Suzanne learns that her husband is dead. When the trio parachute into Holland, one chute fails to open and Sharkey receives a message from Suzanne that Lassiter was killed in the jump and O'Connell has disappeared. A later cable reveals that Lassiter's parachute cord was deliberately cut. Knowing that the lives of all the agents are in danger as O'Connell can identify them, Sharkey takes over Lassiter's assignment and rendezvous with Suzanne at a safe house. At Nazi headquarters, meanwhile, O'Connell tells his superiors that they must find Lassiter's replacement. Sharkey, posing as an official of the Vichy government's Department of Labor, visits the mayor of the town where the rocket bomb factory is located and demands to meet Duclois. The mayor is actually a member of the French Underground and once Sharkey has proven his true identity, agrees to help him extricate Duclois from the heavily guarded Hotel Moderne where he lives and works. Meanwhile, the German state police have been investigating Sharkey and at Nazi headquarters, at 13 Rue Madeleine in Le Havre, O'Connell identifies a sketch of the American. As part of an elaborate plan, the mayor seeks protection from the Nazis against his countrymen, who regard him as a collaborator. Needing more men to protect the mayor, the Germans withdraw those guarding Duclois, enabling Sharkey to capture him. While the Underground put Duclois on a plane, Sharkey blocks the approaching Germans by deliberately crashing a car into them and is captured. Having witnessed the crash, Suzanne attempts to send a cable to Gibson, but is discovered by the Germans and killed. Later, in London, Duclois gives details of the factory layout to the RAF, who prepare to bomb it. Gibson receives part of Suzanne's final transmission in which she states that Sharkey is a prisoner at Nazi headquarters. As the Allies intend to bomb 13 Rue Madeleine, Gibson tells the pilots that Sharkey is no doubt being subjected to severe torture and that bombing the place may be the only way to release him from his suffering. Sharkey has been tortured but has revealed nothing. The bombing starts and Sharkey dies laughing in O'Connell's face, knowing that the vital D-Day secrets will perish with him. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Henry Hathaway (Dir)
  Abe Steinberg (Asst dir)
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck (Exec prod)
  Louis de Rochemont (Prod)
Writer: John Monks, Jr. (Orig scr)
  Sy Bartlett (Orig scr)
Photography: Norbert Brodine (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: James Basevi (Art dir)
  Maurice Ransford (Art dir)
Film Editor: Harmon Jones (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
Costumes: Renè Hubert (Cost)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus dir)
  David Buttolph (Mus)
  Edward Powell (Orch arr)
Sound: W. D. Flick (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
Special Effects: Fred Sersen (Spec photog eff)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Charles Hall (Unit mgr)
  Major Peter Ortiz (Tech adv)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 15/1/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP942

PCA NO: 11740
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: Espionage
  World War II
 
Subjects (Major): Espionage
  Heroism
  Nazis
  Spies
  World War II
 
Subjects (Minor): Bombing, Aerial
  D-Day, 6 Jun 1944
  England
  France
  Great Britain. Air Force
  Impersonation and imposture
  Imprisonment
  London (England)
  Mayors
  Munitions factories
  Torture
  Washington (D.C.)
  Women soldiers
  World War II--Collaborators
  World War II--Resistance movements

Note: 13 Rue Madeleine was the second documentary-like feature produced by the team of Louis de Rochemont, Henry Hathaway, John Monks, Jr. and Norbert Brodine. (For information on the first, see The House on 92nd Street .) Although an opening title card states that "In order to obtain the maximum of realism and authenticity, all the exterior and interior settings in this Motion Picture were photographed in the field--and, whenever possible, at the actual locations," scenes set in London were shot in old Boston, French backgrounds were shot in Quebec, and a Massachusetts estate doubled as an English training base. In a Dec 1945 memo, included in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck suggested Randolph Scott for the role of "Sharkey," John Payne, Glenn Langan and William Eythe as "O'Connell" and Mark Stevens as "Lassiter." In Apr 1946, Zanuck tried to interest Rex Harrison in playing the role of Sharkey, pointing out to him that Sharkey "could have been an RAF Wing Commander, wounded and grounded, sent to Washington as a member of the RAF mission." Actor Horace MacMahon is credited in the Var review cast list but his role as a burglary instructor was eliminated from the final release print. An adaptation of the film was broadcast on Lux Radio Theatre on 20 Oct 1947 and starred Robert Montgomery and Lloyd Nolan. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Mar 1947.   
Box Office   28 Dec 1946.   
Daily Variety   17 Dec 46   p. 3.
Film Daily   19 Dec 46   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   31 May 46   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Aug 46   p. 32.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Dec 46   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   21 Dec 46   p. 3374.
New York Times   16 Jan 47   p. 30.
Variety   18 Dec 46   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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