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Federal Fugitives (1941)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 29 March 1941 (USA)
Spotting a man in Washington D.C. that he thinks looks like Otto Lieberman, a fugitive that caused a plane crash that killed eight people, government-agent James Madison manages to identify... See full summary »


William Beaudine


Martin Mooney (original screenplay and story)




Cast overview:
Neil Hamilton ... Capt. James Madison / Robert Edmunds
Doris Day ... Rita Bennett
Victor Varconi ... Otto Lieberman aka Dr. Frederic Haskell
Charles C. Wilson ... Bruce Lane (as Charles Wilson)
George M. Carleton ... Henry Gregory
Frank Shannon ... Col. Hammond
Lyle Latell ... Chuck - Chauffeur / Valet
Betty Blythe ... Marcia - Lane's Sister
Gerald Oliver Smith Gerald Oliver Smith ... Hobbs - Lane's Butler
Frank Moran ... Ox - Chuck's Pal


Spotting a man in Washington D.C. that he thinks looks like Otto Lieberman, a fugitive that caused a plane crash that killed eight people, government-agent James Madison manages to identify him by his fingerprints on a water-glass without Lieberman's knowledge, and learns his address after having his regular cab-driver, Chuck, follow him. Lieberman is now calling himself Dr. Frederic Haskell and working with Bruce Lane on a scheme to gain control of Henry Gregory's aircraft plant. Gregory has invented a casting-process that uses plastic for some of the parts in an airplane. Gregory was not building "all-plastic" airplanes. Learning the Lieberman and Lane have met with Gregory, Madison also meets him and asks that he be introduced to them as Robert Edmunds, Gregory's partner in Los Angeles. Lane is a shady-lobbyist who employs Rita Bennett, who is not an operative for a spy ring, on a part-time basis to flatter and distract politicians and businessmen. Rita is a good girl at heart ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A GIRL...A SPY...AND A FEARLESS F. B. I. AGENT in a bombshell of ACTION...INTRIGUE...ROMANCE! (original print ad)


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Internationa Spy See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its initial USA telecast Monday 29 January 1945 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). In Baltimore it first aired Sunday 25 July 1948 on WBAL (Channel 11), in Detroit Wednesday 26 January 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in Albuquerque Saturday 11 June 1949 on KOB (Channel 4), in Atlanta Thursday 11 August 1949 on WAGA (Channel 5), and in Los Angeles Thursday 6 April 1950 on KTLA (Channel 5). See more »


Set in Washington, DC during the night on the town montage with Hamilton and Day at the 25.11 time mark Times Square is seen in the background. See more »

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User Reviews

24 April 2016 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

B movies like this one had their place in cinematic history. They were shown at the bottom of a double bill in theaters -- the big expensive A picture at the top, and movies like "Federal Fugitives" in small print at the bottom of the poster. Making them required a perverse kind of skill. The written script might show a character opening a door, walking through it, sitting down at his desk, and lighting a cigarette.

An efficient director of B movies would drop the scene of the actor opening and closing the door because -- suppose he botched it? It would mean another take. So we have the character already IN the room. And walking to his desk? Suppose he knocks over a waste basket. No, better have him already seated. And that business with the cigarette? Suppose it takes two matches or, God forbid, three? Better to open the scene with the character already seated at his desk and holding a lighted cigarette.

It was only rarely that anything resembling talent or imagination could be plugged into a B movie, and this one is typical of the style -- fast and flat. What humor there is, is so low that a child couldn't miss it. "Embassy -- is that spelled with two "c"s or just one?" There is no character development to speak of. The number of sets is limited and there is no outdoor shooting. (Suppose -- a cloud or, gasp, rain?)

The plot has Neil Hamilton as an FBI agent who goes undercover when he suspects treasonous shenanigans at an airplane company. Something fishy is up alright. Hamilton recognizes Dr. Frederick Haskell, the guy who wants to buy into the development of a new fighter, as the thought-to-be-dead Otto Lieberman, the criminal was was "an international headache." I don't know why the name of his evil character is spelled with only one "n" at the end. It suggests he's Jewish. This was 1941, just before Pearl Harbor, and German U-boats were already sinking American ships on their way to England. The guy's name should rightly be spelled "Liebermann," which at the time was the name of an enemy. His accent is Hungarian. No matter.

But speaking of names, the Doris Day in the credits isn't the Doris Day you may have been thinking of, and I KNOW I was thinking of. THIS Doris Day's career was brief, lasting only four years. She appeared in as many films as I did when I was an extra, but she was credited more often. She's pretty and chirpy. I don't know why she wasn't around longer.

The dialog lumbers its way through the formulaic plot. Says Hamilton to his boss: "That can only mean one thing -- that we're dealing with foreign agents." That cliché was deftly parodied in Neil Simon's script for "Murder By Death", in which Peter Falk's detective turns to his secretary/mistress and intones, "That can only mean one thing. And I don't know what dat is." Watching the movie -- which is pretty boring by today's standards -- is like looking at something through the wrong end of a telescope. All the familiar elements are there but they seem distant and tiny, stale, and not important enough to demand much attention.

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