This is a topnotch, exciting cloak-and-dagger thriller, modernly-paced and with a contemporary feel. An added touch is CinemaScope, making it the first updated meller in that medium. Nunnally Johnson gets a clean triple for his smart handling of the production, direction and scripting.
The screenplay is based on a story by Jed Harris and Thomas Reed, which tells of the kidnaping of a young American soldier and how a CIC officer manages to get him back safely to the western zone by being quicker-witted than the GI’s captors and their agents. Peck plays the colonel, Van Dyke, and how he brings off the rescue makes for plenty of suspense-laden, and credibly conceived footage, since he has to fool the East Berlin Reds; the hangover Nazis working with them; handle Leatherby (Broderick Crawford), stateside industrial tycoon who has come to Berlin to rescue his son; and placate the State Department, which wants no illegal trafficking that might have serious international repurcussions. Chief heavy in the melodrama is ably enacted by Anita Bjork, who through most of her footage appears to be a friendly agent trying to help Van Dyke.
A still battle-scarred Berlin provides interesting backgrounds for the melodramatics. The stereophonic sound is not allowed to distract except in opening and closing shots, when it booms out noisily.