6.6/10
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They Came to Blow Up America (1943)

| Drama, War | 7 May 1943 (USA)
An FBI agent infiltrates a Nazi sabotage school in Germany where men are trained for strategic destruction inside American borders.

Director:

Edward Ludwig

Writers:

Aubrey Wisberg (screenplay), Michael Jacoby (original story) (as Michel Jacoby)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Sanders ... Carl Steelman / Ernst Reiter
Anna Sten ... Frau Reiter
Ward Bond ... FBI Chief Craig
Dennis Hoey ... Col. Taeger
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Herman Holger
Ludwig Stössel ... Papa Julius Steelman
Robert Barrat ... Capt. Kranz
Liesl Handl ... Helga Lorenz (as Poldy Dur)
Ralph Byrd ... Burkhardt
Elsa Janssen ... Mama Henrietta Steelman (as Else Janssen)
Rex Williams Rex Williams ... Eichner
Charles McGraw ... Zellerbach
Sven Hugo Borg ... Cmdr. Ullrich Hauser
Kurt Katch ... Schonzeit
Otto Reichow Otto Reichow ... Adam - S.S. Trooper
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Storyline

Because of his German parentage, government agent Carl Steelman is assigned to by his chief, Craig, to join the Nazi Bund, to obtain information on the underground activities of the group. Steelman is welcomed and becomes a trusted member of the group. His father, Julius Steelman, unaware of this son's real mission, drives him from their home. The government agents raid a Bund meeting and Steelman assumes the identity of one of the members who was about to depart to Germany for training. In Berlin, Steelman meets and falls in love with Helga Lorenz, a member of the German underground. In order to hide his true identity and complete his mission, Steelman has to betray the girl to the Gestapo, but later manages to rescue her and see her safely on her way to England. Frau Reiter, wife of the man whose identity Steelman has assumed, threatens to turn him over to the police. He convinces the Gestapo that she is crazy and she is confined to an insane asylum. His training completed, Steelman... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

New Sabotage Units Train in Reich to Invade U.S. by Sub (original print ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Au venit să distrugă America See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Suggested by a true incident that occurred in 1942 when eight Nazi saboteurs were put ashore on the coast of Long Island, New York, by submarine, with orders to blow up various defense installations. They were caught, tried, and several were executed. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, a building in Berlin is shown with a sign that says "Abteilung Geheimdienst", which means "Secret Service". However, it was translated in the film as "Naval Intelligence". A more appropriate sign would have read "Marine Nachrichten Geheimdienst". See more »

Connections

Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sabotaging The Saboteurs
21 October 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If you want to know about Guantanamo and the precedent for all those enemy alien combatants being kept there, a viewing of They Came To Blow Up America is in order. Given the title and when it came out I found it to be more restrained in the flag waving than I thought.

Not to say it doesn't have its problems and a more factual basis in the story might be in order if the tale is ever retold. They Came To Blow Up America finds George Sanders returning home from South America to New York, specifically the Yorkville area in Manhattan where German Americans predominated back in the day and where in some quarters the German American Bund was popular.

Not in his household though, his parents Ludwig Stossel and Elsa Janssen are heartbroken over George going to the Nazis. In fact Ludwig takes to bed physically ill over it. Ludwig Stossel and Elsa Janssen the year before played Lou Gehrig's parents in Pride of the Yankees.

Of course the Nazis recruit Sanders and he goes off to Nazi Germany in secret to their spy/saboteur school run by the Gestapo. Note the similarities of those training scenes to scenes later in our films about the OSS in 13 Rue Madeline, Cloak and Dagger, and OSS.

But fear not Ludwig and Elsa, turns out this is all one big ruse by the FBI, George is working with them to sabotage the saboteurs and FBI agent Ward Bond is his handler in today's terms. Of course when Bond like a dope tells Stossel feeling sorry for the old gent, he nearly blows up their plans.

It wasn't as bad a bit of flag waving as I thought it would be and the story does have a factual basis. Still everyone involved has done better work.

After all Ward Bond did star in Hitler, Dead or Alive. Go screen that one before you criticize They Came To Blow Up America.


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