Big Brother may be watching the Russians, but Somebody Else may be watching you. Thanks to the "benefits" of modern science, the FBI can plant hidden cameras in your closet, dictaphones in your desk, television transmitters in your flues, and wire-recorders in the willows of your local park. Teams of smooth-swift-silent young men can top your phone, read your lips, and trail you around town in phony Howard Johnson trucks. Columbia's Walk East on Beacon shows how these methods were used to crack a Communist spy ring. Its generally authentic exposition of espionage operations and FBI sleuth gadgetry makes this an interesting picture.
This story of intricate Communist mancuvers to capture scientific data takes place in Boston--and the theatre audience won't let you forget it. Russian agents land in Charlestown and make their contacts in the Boston Common or on Beacon Street; the FBI tracks them from Louisburg Square to such obscure spots as the Lampoon Building. The whole chase maintains trotting speed throughout, then gallops up to a suspenseful final scene involving parachute flares, speedboats and even submarines.
Because Walk East on Beacon is actually a Holly-wood composite of several different FBI cases, it contains a few unauthentic touches like an "electronic calculator" which sounds like the original Spinning Jenny and a talkative agent who discusses secrets in uncoded radio and telephone messages. The acting is adequate, if undistinguished. But this movie is worth seeing for its detailed and rather frightening picture of the quiet young men at work.