Address Unkonwn (1944): William Cameron Menzies’ WWII Drama, Starring Paul Lukas as Nazi

This William Cameron Menzies’ WWII drama, Address Unknown, stars Paul Lukas (fresh off from his Best Actor Oscar for “Watch on the Rhine”) as a German-born American who returns to German and becomes a Nazi.

Based on Kressmann Taylor’s 1938’s novel “Address Unknown,” the film tells the story of two families caught up in the rise of Nazism in Germany before the start of the war.

Though dramatically weak, the film benefited from high production values, especially the striking cinematographer of maestro Rudolph Mate.

Mate, employing film noir style, uses shadows, shapes and camera angles to create an ominous imagery.

One notable scene shows Martin Schulz descending a staircase awaiting his arrest by the Gestapo, with the shadow of a web-like crisscross of windowpanes behind him.

Oscar nominations: 2

Interior Decoration (b/w): Lionel Banks, Walter Holscher; art direction, Joseph Kish

Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture: Morris Stoloff, Ernst Toch

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Art Direction Oscar went to George Cukor’s psychological thriller “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman.  Perennial nominee Max Steiner won the Scoring Oscar for “Since You Went Away.”