Surprisingly, the second of only two anti–Soviet feature non–military films, along with Karl Ritter's GPU, that was produced by the Third Reich film industry.
DIE GOLDENE SPINNE / The golden spider (premiere: 23 December 1943)
Two Soviet agents are dropped over Germany by parachute from a bomber plane. The spies first go to the "Rote Mühle" (Red Mill) tavern, whose boss is being blackmailed into presenting the agent Lisaweta as the singer "Agnes Jordan". The aim of the mission is the Kattenbeck works, where a new and particularly strong type of tank is being developed. The agents try to identify a suitable victim among the employees. After the soldierly correct captain can't be spied on, the ambitious and reckless engineer Axel Rüdiger, the works director's right-hand man, turns out to be the ideal victim. Rüdiger, who is actually engaged to the director's daughter and company doctor Christa, agrees to a rendezvous with the attractive agent. This provides one of these opportunities to copy secret documents from Rüdiger's briefcase.
In a scene from the film above, two Gestapo agents shown at the right, interrogate Christa and her father. The older Gestapo agent in plain clothes, is played by actor Otto Gebühr, famous for his many silent and sound film interpretations of Friedrich the Great, including the title role in the Veit Harlan film The Great King (1942).
However, the agents are not satisfied with these documents, but now openly blackmail the engineer into providing them with further secret plans for the tank, otherwise, they would report him for betraying secrets. Rüdiger submits to the agent's blackmail and copies parts of the tank plans at night, which he procured from the privy council's safe.
When handling the plans, however, he made a few mistakes, causing the director and his colleagues to become suspicious and contact the Gestapo. Rüdiger flees and is able to disappear in time. He is later picked up by the rural gendarmerie and shot by them trying to escape again. Because of her connection to Rüdiger, Christa is now also suspected of being involved in the espionage affair. She was initially unable to dispel this suspicion during an interrogation by the Gestapo. In the meantime, agent Agnes Jordan has successfully ensnared the widowed driver of the Kattenbeck works and, under the pretence of marriage intentions, persuaded him to give her access to the factory premises and the shooting range. There she manages to collect material samples of the armoured steel. However, since the plant management has repeatedly urged its employees to be vigilant against spies, the behaviour of the agent – who is currently on the premises as a worker – is beginning to attract attention. The chauffeur Berger now also sees the light, and with a guilty conscience, he reports to the works security department. While the authorities are alerted, the agent manages to slip away at the last minute. Disguised as a nurse, she tries to escape east on a hospital train. There she is finally exposed and arrested. During her interrogation by the Gestapo, she tries to incriminate the uninvolved Christa. Agent Petersen is the last spy to be caught. He was initially able to gain access to the plant as a canteen supplies representative. After killing the head of the "Red Mill" in order to eliminate her as an accomplice, Petersen ventures back into the Kattenbeck factory because of the last missing construction details. After all, he can even get into the production hall there and now tries to explore the secrets of the tank on his own. A dramatic showdown ensues on the factory floor, in which the agent is fatally injured. With his last breath, he can make it clear that Christa Fischer has nothing to do with the espionage company.
Release date December 23, 1943 (Germany)
German filming locations: Terra Film Productions studios, Babelsberg (Potsdam) Exterior locations in greater Berlin
European filming locations 's-Gravenhage, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
The film was only released after 1945 in 1970's West Germany on a commercial VHS cassette version, and never subsequently on DVD.
The Fensterplakat A3 (the "window poster" shown at the top of this web page) is the only poster we own for this film. We have neither the press book nor the cinema owner’s guide (Werberatschlag) to it.
We do have 23 glossy lobby cards in our Film Stills Archive. Below a 1942/43 season preview advertisement for the film: