Pat O'Brien Lays Haymakers On The Axis in Secret Command (1943)
Shipyard strife when enemy agents do sabotage on
war-bound vessels. Star Pat O' Brien co-produced this under Torneen Productions
banner, the name a merging of family monikers. He and partner Phil Ryan had
seen the yarn in a Saturday Evening Post, source of so many programmers like
Secret Command. O'Brien was regarded an action man despite acclaim in gentler
parts, his move from Warners to RKOsignaling a slip toward formula work, if not
B's. Secret Command was a loan-out, Torneen and distributing Columbia picking up the tab for Pat's
service. Others of the cast were versed in stories told in fist, rather than
talk, terms: Chester Morris, Barton MacLane, Wally Ford. O'Brien is undercover to
ferret the spies, which comes easy as they're so transparent at scheming.
Domestic rentals of $873K must have been happy surprise for a venture costing less than half that. War themes could be profitably plugged
into virtually any genre during that gold rush that came post-Pearl Harbor,
Axis baddies getting theirs on screen met with war whoops from
delighted youngsters counting down days till they were old enough to enlist. Seen on TCM.