Friendly Enemies

Friendly Enemies
Directed by Allan Dwan
Produced by Edward Small
Written by Aaron Hoffman and Samuel Shipman (play)
Adelaide Heilbron (screenplay)
Starring Charles Winninger
Charles Ruggles
James Craig
Nancy Kelly
Edward Small Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • June 21, 1942 (1942-06-21)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Friendly Enemies is a 1942 American drama film starring Charles Winninger, Charles Ruggles, James Craig, and Nancy Kelly. The film was directed by Allan Dwan, adapted from a play by Aaron Hoffman and Samuel Shipman. It was nominated an Academy Award in the category Sound Recording (Jack Whitney).[1]

Plot Summary

A New York City brewer by the name of Karl Pfeiffer takes a stand against President Wilson's decision to send troops to Europe to support the Allies in World War I. Karl is a native German who doesn't want his birthplace destroyed in the war.

Trying to find another way to help stop the war, Karl is an easy target for the cunning saboteur Anton Miller. Miller meets Karl posing as propaganda expert named George Stewart, and can persuades Karl to donate $50,000 to the cause of stopping the war. The check will be ready for picking up the day after at Karl's home on Manhattan. That same evening Karl attends a dinner in honor of Henry Block, who is the father of June, who is about to marry Karl's son. When it comes to politics, Henry's views are opposite of Karl's and they often start to argue when they meet.

Because of Karl's views and bad temper the rest of the family have kept it a secret that his son William has joined the Army. At the dinner Karl is told about this and reacts as expected with an outburst. He leaves the apartment in anger, but tries to persuade his son to change his mind the following day. Miller is interested when he hears that the famously wealthy Henry is soon to be related to Karl, and wants to meet up with him.

William stands by his decision to fight in the war, and soon he embarks with a military transport ship out of the New York City harbor. On the way to Europe the ship is sunk by saboteurs and Karl gets a message from Miller that the money he donated was well spent.

Realizing his mistake in trusting Miller, the devastated Karl decides to venge his son by killing Miller. Henry comes to his aid, and together they come up with a plan to disclose Miller as a saboteur instead.

They arrange a meeting between Miller and Henry, at which Miller is forced to reveal his identity and is arrested by the police.

Later, it turns out that William wasn't killed when the ship sunk, and he comes home to reunite with his family and wife. Having learnt his lesson, Karl decides to give up his political beliefs and care for his family instead. The fact that he has become a true American patriot is displayed in full when he sings "My country 'tis of thee" together with his family.[2]



The movie was based on a play which had been very popular during World War One and filmed in 1925. Edward Small bought the rights in 1942.[3] Filming started in early February 1942.[4]


Reviews were average.[5]

Small said he wanted to reunited the two stars in Batter Up but the film did not eventuate.[6]

Radio adaptation

Friendly Enemies was presented on Philip Morris Playhouse June 26, 1942. Ruggles and Winninger reprised their roles.[7]


  1. "The 15th Academy Awards (1943) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  3. Internecine Warfare! Parsons, Louella. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 22 Jan 1942: 9.
  4. Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 03 Feb 1942: 23.
  5. ' Friendly Enemies,' With Ruggles and Winninger, Opens at the Rivoli --- 'Submarine Raider' Is Seen at the Central T.S.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 22 June 1942: 19.
  6. DRAMA: Episodic Films May Solve Actor Shortage Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 July 1942: 13
  7. "Playhouse Presents Stars in Radio Adaptation of "Friendly Enemies"". Harrisburg Telegraph. June 20, 1942. p. 22. Retrieved August 4, 2015 via

External links

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