And rated 100% at Rotten Tomatoes, and 90% liked it.
Here’s the 1952 review from the New York Times:
Those who may fear that the old days of silken spy films are as dead as the gone days of diamond tiaras and princely diplomacy can now settle back in the comfort and the tingling satisfaction to be had from Twentieth Century Fox “Five Fingers,” which arrived at the Roxy yesterday. For here, in this literate entertainment Joseph L. Mankiewicz has made with a cast that might well have been recruited at an embassy function in pre-war Berlin, is as dandy an espionage thriller as ever went through the polished hands of a Grahame Greene or an Alfred Hitchcock—or for that matter, an E. P. Oppenheim.
And what’s more, added to the relish of this spicy adventure that is played in a particularly suave and crafty manner by James Mason in the central spy role is the fact that the story of it is almost a literal account of a fantastic piece of spy work that was accomplished in Ankara, Turkey, in 1944. That story has since been recounted by a former attaché of the German Embassy there in a book called “Operation Cicero.” It is this book by L. C. Moyzisch upon which the film is based.
And unlike modern movies, the twist ending at the end actually made sense of the biggest unanswered question I had while watching it.
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.
For Friday night, I thought I’d re-post a movie I like a lot.
IMDB rating: [7.5/10]
WWII is entering its last phase: Germany is in ruins, but does not yield. The US army lacks crucial knowledge about the German units operating on the opposite side of the Rhine, and decides to send two German prisoners to gather information. The scheme is risky: the Gestapo retains a terribly efficient network to identify and capture spies and deserters. Moreover, it is not clear that “Tiger”, who does not mind any dirty work as long as the price is right, and war-weary “Happy”, who might be easily betrayed by his feelings, are dependable agents. After Tiger and another American agent are successfully infiltrated, Happy is parachuted in Bavaria. His duty: find out the whereabouts of a powerful German armored unit moving towards the western front.