Inside the Lines (July 5, 1930)

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Inside the Lines
 

Released on July 5, 1930: A female spy infiltrates British Headquarters at Gibralter to destroy the British Mediterranean fleet.

Produced by William LeBaron

Directed by Roy Pomeroy

The Actors: Betty Compson (Jane Gershon, #1893, aka Ellen Courtier), Ralph Forbes (Eric Woodhouse), Montague Love (Mamjor General Sir George Crandall, Governor of Gibraltar), Ivan F. Simpson (Capper), Reginald Sharland (Archibald Plantagenous 'Archie' Chumley), Betty Carter (Lady Crandall), Mischa Auer (Ahahdi), Evan Thomas (Major Bishop), Wilhelm von Brincken (Herr Hoffman, Secret Service Chief), Harry Strang (medical orderly)

 

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The Secret Spy and Her Lovers

Full Disclosure: I am in my 60’s and I just finished watching this spy adventure from long before I was born.

This movie has a great story and what I think is the perfect plot – I am guessing who agent #54 is right up to the final scene, and not only that, but guessing who knows what and who will get caught and killed or get away. I will admit that I made a horrible mistake after watching the movie . . . . I asked a youngster in his mid-twenties about the last spy movie he saw, and what he enjoyed about it.

He eagerly told me about a drop-dead gorgeous and delightfully deadly woman in the movie, and I could tell him about the woman spy in this movie, who fit that bill perfectly. . . . But then he went on to talk endlessly about shoulder-fired missiles, and ball-point pens that could kill a moose a half-mile away . . . . And helicopter chases . . . . And buildings blowing up . . . . . And on and on about the amazing 3-D explosions and chase scenes . . . . I sadly shook my head and walked away . . . . He had no idea what the story was about other than the general outline of things, and didn’t really care about the story plot.

Sure, this movie has less-than Hi-Def resolution, no color, no eye-popping special effects . . . In fact, it is one of the first ‘talkies’ and uses the now inferior RCA record playing sound system. The sound was recorded on 78rpm records, and as the movie projectionist started the film projector, he also started the record on the gramophone next to the projector. Sometimes the sound matched the lips on screen perfectly, but that was the exception, not the rule. What kept me engrossed for the entire movie was the story . . . . Without any shaken-not-stirred martinis my mind was still totally occupied trying desperately to unravel the mysteries of the spy world in a British military post on the rock of Gibraltar during the days of the First World War.

The First World War was called the war to end wars. From the time Cain killed Abel men have been fighting each other, but never to the scale that the First World War brought. Half of the globe was at war, and the horrors that accompanied that war would never ever be seen again . . . . At least not until a few years after this movie when the world went at it again.

In this story we meet a handsome young British man and a gorgeous blonde girl, and they are deeply in love after seven days of passionate courtship in a German vacation town. Suddenly the girl proclaims that she must leave her new lover and he must not ask any questions . . . She will disappear without a trace . . . . Going to a secret home in Paris where we discover that she is top secret German spy #1889, and with the breakout of war she is to be trained to take on the identity of a British gal who was childhood friends with the wife of the British General in charge of the Royal Navy fleet in the Mediterranean. She must live in the fortified base on Gibraltar and break into a safe that has protective devices that will kill her if she makes any tiny mistake. She will then give the war plans inside the top secret safe to Agent 54, who is someone inside the naval base already. The beautiful blonde memorizes the information that she will need to convince everyone that she is British, and successfully becomes a house-guest of the General, near Room B, where the top secret safe is hidden. Unfortunately, on her first day in the General’s home, a British officer arrives who is tasked with helping to protect the top secret safe . . . And he is the fellow that she fell in love with and had a torrid affair with only weeks ago . . . . Will she succeed in breaking into the safe and becoming the instrument of destruction for the entire British fleet in the Mediterranean? Will her lover expose her and trap her when he discovers that she is not who she told him she was? . . . . No exploding buildings . . . . No death-defying helicopter chases . . . . No shoulder-fired missiles . . . . But a heck of a good story with a story plot that will keep some of us entertained even more effectively. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Betty Compson and Ralph Forbes
Betty Compson and Ralph Forbes
Betty Carter and Ralph Forbes
Betty Carter and Ralph Forbes
Betty Carter and Ralph Forbes
Betty Carter and Ralph Forbes
Betty Carter
Betty Carter
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Betty Compson and Ralph Forbes
Betty Compson and Ralph Forbes
Betty COmpson and Wilhelm von Brincken
Betty COmpson and Wilhelm von Brincken
Betty Compson at tea
Betty Compson at tea
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Betty Compson and Reginald Sharland
Betty Compson and Reginald Sharland
Betty Compson playing her violin
Betty Compson playing her violin
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Betty Compson
Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas
Ivan F. Simpson
Ivan F. Simpson
Ivan F. Simpson and Mischa Auer
Ivan F. Simpson and Mischa Auer
Ivan F. Simpson
Ivan F. Simpson
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer and Ralph Forbes
Mischa Auer and Ralph Forbes
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Mischa Auer
Montagu Love and Evan Thomas
Montagu Love and Evan Thomas
Montagu Love
Montagu Love
Ralph Forbes
Ralph Forbes
Ralph Forbes and Montagu Love
Ralph Forbes and Montagu Love
Ralph Forbes
Ralph Forbes
Reginald Sharland and Betty Compson
Reginald Sharland and Betty Compson
Reginald Sharland, Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Reginald Sharland, Betty Compson and Betty Carter
Reginal Sharland and Betty Compson
Reginal Sharland and Betty Compson
Wilhelm von Brincken
Wilhelm von Brincken
Wilhelm von Brincken
Wilhelm von Brincken