We can get our obligatory Star Trek connection out of the way promptly:
Max Borg! The hippest, baddest Borg of them all! Actually, he’s a printer who gets rubbed out in the early scenes by a gunman named . . . Knuckles. (You wait for someone named Barrel to punch someone to death.) Borg’s wife knew he was killed, but she fears reprisal from the Shadowy Gang who knocked him off. There are three things wrong with the movie:
The story picks up new plot lines every seven minutes; it’s the crazy-cat-lady of movies
It’s incompetently directed and edited and written, although people seem to generally avoid wearing their costumes inside out
It’s a MESSAGE PICTURE, or at least thinks it is. The subject:
Crusader-Nazis! One of those movies Hollywood made during the Red period to assure everyone they were worried about domestic perils, too - the real one, this time! Not that silly Commie stuff. Yes, New York’s just crawling with Neo-Nazis.
It’s a low-budget independent production, and appears to have roped in plenty of talent - perhaps on the strength of its message. Too bad for those who signed up, because the Message gets lost along with everthing else, including the audience's interest. Franchot Tone walks through with a smirk, as though he knows it doesn't matter what he does in the second half of the picture because everyone stopped caring in the first. Not to say there aren't a few lively folk. The ever-dependable Burgess Meredith is entertaining, but he's on screen for exactly seven seconds:
He wasn't a big name at the time, though. This guy was:
John Garfield. His role consists of standing outside with a newspaper, and telling Franchot Tone to go inside. That's it. Never appears in the picture again. Later, at a nightclub:
Marlene Dietrich. She has no lines.
The waiter has lines, though.
Henry Fonda. That’s all he does in the picture. But there's something else in this scene you might find interesting. When I was growing up I memorized the New Yorker Album, a collection of cartoons from 1925 to 1950; I always wondered what she'd done to get her picture in the book:
Later I found out the answer: not much, but she was well-publicized for doing it. An heiress well-covered by the papers, famous for her lavish debutante ball. She has one film credit to her name, and it’s this one. She’s listed as “nighclub patron.” She can only be the figure on the left:
There's no one else in the scene who's female, has black hair, and gets her own light.
One more thing: Marsha Hunt. Ten seconds screentime as a secretary.