Produced shortly after war broke out with the Soviet Union, the melodrama GPU draws its title from the initials for “Government Political Administration,” the Soviet state police. This dreaded organization enforced repressive laws, crushed dissent and combated the influence abroad of anti-Communist Russian émigrés. Invading the USSR in 1941, German leaders anticipated the GPU would mobilize Marxists in German-occupied Europe to sabotage the war effort. This film exposes GPU methods as criminal and subversive, of service purely to the Kremlin and detrimental to other lands. Wartime Germany’s only directly anti-Soviet feature film, GPU dramatizes the ordeal of a Baltic couple coerced into spying for Russia. The lovers find unexpected help from a female Soviet agent secretly working to avenge her family’s murder by the GPU years before. Action, suspense and romance combine to make GPU among the Third Reich’s most acclaimed motion pictures, with elements later incorporated into post-war Hollywood spy thrillers. Directed by Karl Ritter; music by Herbert Windt; featuring Laura Solari, Will Quadflieg, and Andrews Engelman. Germany, 1942, B&W, 81 minutes, German dialogue English subtitles.
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