This is the first film ever made on how to be a spy in enemy territory produced by a secret intelligence service to train their own agents. And it's not everyday I discover a virtually unknown feature film by an Oscar Winning director, let alone one that contains his only speaking role in a talking picture. Hollywood legend John Ford directed this training film during World War 2 on the art of espionage for the O.S.S (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the C.I.A) and plays a cameo role as a secret intelligence officer. (Ford appears at 5:40) It's been released to the public for the first time by the C.I.A. Archives.
The film opens with examples of foreign intelligence operations that failed in North America and why they were found out We then follow the fictional careers of two American agents from recruitment through training, infiltration, and on to their field operations. (One is a "fisherman," the other a "factory worker." This is a very hands on, how to guide to espionage, with right-way wrong-way examples on skills like crossing boarders, inventing and employing a cover story, establishing a residence, contacting your control, using "dead drops," dressing to blend in with the locals getting a the right job, maintaining a low profile, dealing with "the authorities," gathering intelligence and much more. An engaging and informative tale told by a master storyteller. .