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State Department File 649

State Department File 649(1949)

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The film's working title was File 649-State Department. The film's title was also shown as State Department-File 649. The foreword on the viewed print stated that the film was dedicated to "the unsung and often unhonored heroes" of the Foreign Service of the United States "who have given their health and their lives in obscurity." Although the film is presented as a recreation of a case history, several reviewers questioned the authenticity of the film's story. Said Bosley Crowther in his New York Times review: "Film Classics has not broken any new ground. Nor can we believe that its 'documentary' tribute is based on an actual file." In addition, Alton Cook, whose review was excerpted in Hollywood Reporter's Reviews of reviews column, noted: "Hollywood has opened a new offensive against the Chinese. During the war years, filmdom's old-fashioned heathen Chinese was replaced by our gallant Chinese allies. Recent Communist victories there apparently have made China a fair hunting ground for villainy once more...This picture's importance lies in serving notice that the makers of B pictures have gone back to their pre-war notion that Charlie Chan is one of the few good Chinese walking this earth." A pre-production news item in the Los Angeles Times stated that Gene Raymond was to star in the film, but he was later replaced by William Lundigan. From 1928 to 1949, Peking, China's capital city, was known as Peiping, and Nanking was the capital. In 1949, Peking surrendered to Communist forces and was again made the Chinese capital.