Based on A. P. Scotland’s autobiography and directed by André De Toth, a half-English, half-German general rises in the Nazi’s army but spies for the English with the help of a shopkeeper and a beautiful singer.
At Berlin in 1939 people cheer German soldiers marching in the street. Around a large conference table Adolf Hitler (Kenneth Griffith) is conducting a military staff meeting. The army has been halted in Poland, and Hitler demands answers. General Alex Schottland (Jack Hawkins) is in charge of supplies and assures the Fuhrer that the supply mission will be done. Hitler says they will negotiate with England and France, but they will attack on September 1.
War breaks out, and the German army takes over Warsaw.
At a party officers ask Schottland for a speech, and he offers a toast. Lt. Reinisch (Erik Schumann) asks him if he wants to meet any of the ladies, and Schottland asks if that is part of his duties. Reinisch says he has done it before for generals. Schottland thanks General Hauser (Laurence Naismith) for recommending his promotion. Hauser introduces Lili Geyr (Gia Scala) to Schottland, and she offers to sing a song for him. Another general introduces Karen Corscher (Harriette Johns) to Schottland who tells her that Reinisch wanted to meet her. Schottland excuses himself, listens to Lili, and goes out. Karen asks Reinisch if Schottland dislikes all women. Reinisch says he is devoted to his work.
Schottland knocks on a door of a shop at night, and Cornaz (Felix Aylmer) asks him for news and notices he has become a general. Schottland says he has been assigned a plane and can go anywhere, even England. He has been living a masquerade for 25 years. When he got in that plane, he felt at home for the first time since he has been considered a traitor by his country. Cornaz admits it has been difficult for him. He asks what is wrong and wonders if he is wearing out. Schottland says he had a big fright. He met a beautiful woman again and says he will not fall in love. Cornaz advises him to relax and run with the pack. He says running away from her might be worse. Schottland does not want to take the chance, but Cornaz makes it an order.
Lili is singing “You’re the Only One for Me” and playing piano as Schottland comes back in. He goes to the bar and orders a brandy. She asks if he does not like her or her singing. He says he came back and likes both. They drink a toast. He offers to show her his collection of clocks.
Schottland explains to Lili some of his clocks. She takes off her jacket and asks what else he wants. She wants to be a successful singer, and he says she is successful already. She wants to sing in Paris while she is still young and asks him to help her. He says she reminded him of his work if they are to be successful in the west. He asks Reinisch to drive her home, and they say goodnight.
In 1940 the Germans invade Holland, Belgium, and France, reaching Paris. A newspaper reports that England will be next. Schottland visits Cornaz in his shop and tells him that Hitler has called off the invasion of England. Cornaz says it is good news, and they must get it out at once. Schottland says he has been made deputy chief of supply and can make the military machine chaotic. Cornaz orders him to do an effective job so that he can continue to gain intelligence which is more valuable. Cornaz says if he is dismissed, he will be useless. He will be watched more carefully. Cornaz asks him if Reinisch suspects him, and Schottland says no.
Gestapo leader Müller (Alexander Knox) sits and listens as Reinisch reports to General Kaltenbrunner (Edward Underdown) that Schottland’s real name is Alexander Scott and that he was educated at Heidelberg and Oxford. The general gives a more complete account of his background and loyalty to Germany. His mother was German. Kaltenbrunner says he made the right choice by remaining a German after the Great War. He says all high-ranking officers are under investigation, but Schottland is a rising star favored by Hitler. The general goes out, and Müller says he is not satisfied. Reinisch says he is too perfect.
In 1941 and 1942 the Germans fight in Russia. In 1943 their armies win victories in North Africa and Italy. The Allies invade at Normandy on D-Day.
Schottland with Reinisch tells Cornaz that a vase is not what he is looking for. They leave, and Cornaz finds a map inside it.
The German staff hears a report from General Wagner (Martin Benson) as they look at the large map on the wall. General Hauser believes the French underground is well organized and is causing them trouble, reporting their positions immediately. Schottland disagrees, and asks why the enemy aircraft did not bomb the decoys. He says they must have known the location of the depots by knowledge from high levels. Wagner objects to such charges without evidence. He asks whom he is accusing, and Schottland says no one yet. He says defeatism leads to treason. Hauser calls the charges the most irresponsible he has ever heard. Wagner advises Schottland to leave espionage to Kaltenbrunner. The meeting is dismissed, and everyone leaves the room but Kaltenbrunner and Col. Heitz, who asks if the defeatism was referring to General Merkel. Heitz says he knows about him and that others are involved. He will find them and end the defeatist talk.
While Schottland is walking home, Cornaz says he must see him. Schottland says he will leave his door open if it is safe. Schottland enters his apartment and closes the curtains. Cornaz comes in and says he had to take the risk because his courier was arrested. He tells him not to go to the shop. Cornaz asks for information about the new supply dumps in France. Schottland assures him there were no changes. Cornaz says if he is eliminated, he will find his new contact from a watch advertisement. He will go to the address and offer 3,000 marks. If the seller offers it for 90 marks, he is his contact. Cornaz says he must leave and notices his collection of clocks before going.
A secretary comes into his office and gives Schottland the latest operation report. He asks for his car to be sent around. He puts the paper in his pocket. Reinisch comes in, and Schottland says he will not need him anymore. Reinisch says he is ordered to drive him to Gestapo headquarters. He has heard talk that the antique dealer on the corner has been arrested. Because he patronized his shop, Schottland assumes that is why he is wanted for questioning.
Schottland and Reinisch come into a room where Müller is watching a soldier whip Cornaz on his bare back. Müller advises Schottland to tell him now and spare himself the agony. The whipping goes on as Schottland lights a cigarette. Müller orders them to get it over with quickly. The whipping stops, and Schottland asks Cornaz to tell him his contacts so he can help him. Cornaz calls Schottland a swine. The soldiers turn on a faucet with a hose. Müller shouts no and says he is dead. Schottland says he should have anticipated that.
In Müller’s office Schottland says several officers patronized that shop. Müller asks about the assassins, and Schottland asks if it is the plot against the Fuhrer. Müller realizes he knows that and tells him to go on. Schottland says he only has suspicions. Müller says the plot failed, and the Fuhrer escaped without injury. Schottland demands that he get Kaltenbrunner on the phone. Müller calls him, and Kaltenbrunner says he has arrested three of the plotters. He orders Müller to arrest Hauser and Merkel, but not Heitz so he can be followed. He says Wagner was involved but committed suicide. Müller says that Schottland is still denying everything, but he will get him to talk. Müller puts Schottland under arrest for treason. Schottland doubts that he was talking to Kaltenbrunner. The phone rings, and Müller answers. Kaltenbrunner tells Müller not to arrest Schottland because he reported the plot to him. He must also apologize. Müller hangs up and apologizes. Schottland refers to him as a half-wit and goes out.
At home Dietz (Geoffrey Bayldon) serves dinner for Schottland who sees an ad for the antique watch with an address.
Schottland goes in his car to the shop and asks about the ad. The pawnbroker says it is not in working order. Schottland offers 3,000 marks, and the pawnbroker says for that he will put it in working order. Schottland says it is not the one he wants.
Schottland rings a doorbell, and Lili opens the door. Schottland sees Reinisch is there and says there must be some mistake because he is interested in the watch. She mentions the watch. He says he will pay 3,000 marks, and she says that is too much. She will sell it for 90 marks. He says that is a bargain, but it is not exactly what he wants. As he goes out, she says she would like to sell it. He says good day and leaves.
Reinisch comes into Schottland’s office and says he will file his report. Reinisch says it was a coincidence meeting him.
Schottland goes back to Lili’s apartment, and she lets him in. She asks for his coat. They confirm what they said about the watch, and she says it is unbelievable. He asks for a drink, and she offers him brandy and soda. She asks if he remembers what he did after the dance. He says he was hiding personal feelings because of fear of betrayal. He hopes to be relaxed with her, but she says they must be professional. He asks if she receives his orders from London, and she says she has a short-wave radio. He says she can be shot for that. He asks how she will transmit his information. She will explain it when he needs to know it. He gets more brandy. He says they must have a reason for meeting frequently. She says they may think they are having a love affair, but the facts must be different. He agrees and asks if Reinisch will complicate it. She says no. She says she will come to his place whenever he wants and spend the night.
A driver brings Lili to Schottland’s apartment, and Reinisch lets her in. She says he made her a good offer. Reinisch says they have both found what they want, and he is used to being a general’s aide. Schottland comes in, and Reinisch leaves the room. Schottland tells her that Reinisch is a problem because he works for the Gestapo. He takes her into his bedroom and shows her a hidden microphone. He kisses her hand, and she asks for more and says that is better.
Reinisch and Müller are listening to the taped conversation. She says Reinisch is nothing to him but an amusing boy. Müller makes him stop the tape.
Lili is at a piano and talks with Schottland about the information they are trying to transmit. She says she cannot get it all into a song. Then she says she got it and will broadcast it. Schottland says he is leaving for the front soon, and she embraces him briefly before he leaves.
Schottland and Reinisch hear the radio as Schottland works at his desk. The announcer says that Lili will not be with them this evening. Schottland gets up and tells Reinisch to wait for him there.
Schottland goes to her apartment, and she lets him in, saying he should not have come. She says she must be suspected. He says he can protect her. She says they are caught by their personal feelings. He says they must dispose of her radio. At the front he will use a field transmitter. She says that is dangerous and asks if there is another way. He says goodbye without personal feelings and goes out.
In a snowy forest Schottland parks a car amid sounds of guns. He takes out a radio and attaches the antenna. He speaks to Allied forces and tells them to relay the following information. A German corporal points a rifle at him and questions him. He demands to see his papers. While the corporal goes to the car to get the papers, Schottland pulls out a pistol and shoots him. He sees three men approaching and puts the radio in the car and hides behind a tree. With the corporal’s rifle he kills the three men. Another soldier sees him get in the car and signals to his men to advance. Schottland has trouble getting the car to move in the snow. Finally he backs up and then goes forward. The soldiers find the bodies and find the corporal is alive. The car escapes on a road. Later the corporal is brought to an officer who gets a report that a German general shot him. He is in a coma.
Schottland visits Lili, and she embraces him affectionately. He says he failed because a patrol surprised him. He says he killed all of them, and she asks if he is sure. He says Goebbels may have disliked her songs, but she says they are still selling her records. She is afraid she is suspected. He says they have established that they are lovers and to stop seeing each other would be suspicious. Someone knocks, and he hides behind the door. Two soldiers come in and see Schottland and salute him. They ask to speak to Lili alone and go into her bedroom with her. Schottland goes out and comes back in. He hides a pistol under his coat. They come out, and she tells him to stay because they are through with their business. The two soldiers leave. She says an ambitious Nazi is wanted for defeatism. He asks who, and she says it is the Berlin radio censor. They discuss how they can transmit his information. He says he must sabotage the Ardennes offensive.
At a staff meeting Schottland advises the Fuhrer to have faith about the supplies, and Hitler suggests they can get supplies as they advance. Schottland says they can use three-days of supplies instead of ten, and Hitler hears no objections.
Schottland sees a newspaper that reports the Americans are retreating. Armies fight in the snow, and the BBC reports that the Americans are invading Germany. Schottland and Lili listen to the radio, and he says the Battle of the Bulge is over. The American armies advance.
German children play in the rubble. Schottland walks through a gate.
Lili is being served in a restaurant, and Schottland comes in and joins her. He says her public has not forgotten her. She says she got a letter from a general. He says the soldiers want to hear her sing, and she should respond. He says they may be watched. He says that he and she can get across the lines to the Allies, and the war is almost over. She wants to remain with him, but he says there is no choice.
Lila and Schottland visit wounded soldiers in a hospital and are cheered.
Schottland tells Reinisch to wake him at 0600, and they say goodnight. Schottland goes into a room, waits, and then goes out and knocks on Lila’s door. She lets him in. Reinisch comes out into the hall. Schottland shows her a map to the American lines and points out a village she should go to. The Americans will check her story until they discover the code word she has. He wishes her good luck and leaves her room and then goes back in. She is lying on the bed and gets up. He kisses her, and they sit on the bed. She wishes he was going with her and cries. He says he will see her soon. He suggests they meet at an inn in England after the war. She kisses him and asks what they will be like then. He is eager to find out.
Lili hurries on a dirt road and asks for help. She notices it is Reinisch, and he takes the map from her. She runs off, and he shoots her in the back.
Schottland opens the door, sees Reinisch, and tells him to order his breakfast. Reinisch finds a pay phone and tries to call Müller, but the operator says all lines are tied up.
Schottland and Reinisch are being driven in his car on a highway.
In his office Müller and two others are interrogating the corporal, but he cannot identify any of the generals. Müller asks his aide to call and find out when Schottland was in that area. The corporal says that Schottland’s photo looks like him. He says he could recognize his voice. The aide says that Schottland is still at the western front. Müller plans a reunion with Schottland.
The car stops, and Schottland sees a young person’s body hanging from a lamp-post. Reinisch says they are defeatists and are as bad as traitors.
Schottland and Reinisch return to his apartment, and he says he only needs a few minutes to get papers he needs. He tells him to call headquarters that they will be late. Reinisch does not respond to orders and says he has been thinking about Schottland. He says Schottland will die there, and his death will seem a suicide. He will be buried with military honors, and no one will know the truth. Schottland asks what he gets out of that. Reinisch asks who he is, and Schottland says he should know himself. He says the Third Reich was built on lies. He says Reinisch lived for years without a conscience. Reinisch says he served his country with honor. Schottland feels sorry for him. Reinisch hates him, and that is all he has left. Schottland pulls out his pistol, and Reinisch dumps the bullets on the desk. Reinisch takes out his pistol and throws a letter on the desk that Schottland reads. Schottland asks him where she is, and Reinisch says she is dead. Schottland lunges at him, and he drops the gun. They wrestle on the floor, and Schottland gets a gun. A shot is heard. The gun is dropped.
An aide reports to Müller that Schottland has not replied nor has Reinisch. Müller asks where the girl’s body was found. He orders Schottland’s apartment searched and him brought in.
Schottland’s driver leaves the car and goes to the apartment. Schottland comes out and orders him to take him to the Fuhrer’s bunker.
Schottland comes into a room where generals are sitting, and he asks to see the Fuhrer. General Hardt (Donald Pleasence) introduces the other generals. Schottland says there is still hope because one army is still intact. Hardt asks if he knows the directive on preserving the officer corps to reconstruct Germany. He says this idea must be presented to the Fuhrer by someone who has his respect. They ask Schottland to do this. Schottland goes in to see Hitler.
Three soldiers have found Reinisch dead, and one calls Müller.
Schottland tells Hitler that they can make a counter-attack. He asks permission to cut through the lines and order the counter-attack. He warns him against defeatists, and he names the generals waiting outside. Hitler says he has confirmed his intuition. Schottland adds Müller’s name. Hitler orders them all arrested, and Schottland goes out.
Müller says Schottland is to be shot if he resists. Soldiers come in and arrest Müller.
Schottland in his car at a checkpoint has his papers checked and goes on. A soldier gets a message, and calls in motorcycles. Schottland orders the car stopped and says he will go on foot. He tells the driver to turn the car around, and he goes into the woods. He can hear guns. Allied soldiers tell him to halt. He puts up his hands, sees they are English, and smiles.
The English celebrate the victory over Germany. Schottland walks to the Fiddlers Three inn and goes in. A sign on the door says, “Welcome home, boys.”
To this true story a fictitious romance was added. The historical drama depicts the Nazi generals and their subservience to Hitler. The autocratic war machine is so ruthless and cruel that it can only lead to massive destruction, and those fighting for a better freedom eventually overcome them.