BrianRxm Coins in Movies 29/131
The FBI Story (1959)
Russian spies and a specially modified Franklin half dollar
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The 1959 Warner Bros. film "The FBI Story" is about the life and service of a US Justice Department
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent played by James Stewart.
 
The film begins with a modern (1955) airplane bombing, then moves to middle-aged Agent Hardesty (Stewart)
giving a talk to younger agents on director J. Edgar Hoover and the history of the FBI.
 
Agent Hardesty's FBI jobs include stopping the Ku Klux Klan, solving the murders of American Indians
who have become wealthy from oil wells, battling various 1930's gangsters and bank robbers including
John Dillinger, then working in South America monitoring Nazi smuggling activity.
 
Along the way he marries Lucy, has three children including a son who joins the Marines and is
killed in action in World War II, and ends as a senior agent heading the investigation into a pair of
Russian spies in New York City.
 
Only the Russian spy episode features a coin, a Franklin half dollar modified to hold small coded messages.
The coin accidently comes into the hands of the FBI and leads them to the spies.
The FBI Story
1. Title
 
After World War II ends, the FBI is ordered to investigate and apprehend spies working for Russia,
also known then as the Soviet Union.
 
In early 1950's New York City Bronx section, workers at a cleaning and pressing shop make a discovery.
 
The FBI Story
2. Cleaning and pressing shop
 
A worker pressing a suit sees a familiar image.
 
The FBI Story
3. Imprint of coin
 
He asks his partner "when will people learn" to clean out their pockets, the pulls out the coin
and throws it onto a table.
 
The coin, a half dollar, splits in half revealing a small piece of microfilm.
 
The FBI Story
4. Special half dollar
 
The coin is a Franklin half dollar dated 1950.
They are named after American Benjamin Franklin who appears on the obverse.
These coins were made from 1948 to 1963.
 
The prop coin appears to be a hollow Magician's coin normally used for magic shows.
 
A Franklin half dollar:
 
United States half dollar 1950
5. United States Benjamin Franklin half dollar 1950
 
The worker spots the microfilm and calls the FBI who send an agent over.
The FBI discovers that the man who owns the suit was a member of various communist groups
but dropped out of all of them two years before.
 
The FBI copies the microfilm and returns the coin to the man, who is given the code name "Whitey".
 
Agent Hardesty is sent to New York City and is put in charge of the case.
 
The FBI Story
6. Agent Hardesty confers with colleagues
 
At a zoo Whitey meets Metzger, a known Russian spy who the FBI has been following for some time.
 
At the New York office, Agent Hardesty gets a call on the red phone.
 
The FBI Story
7. Agent Hardesty gets a call
 
The red telephone takes calls from only one person, the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
 
While Agent Hardesty stays at the office, other agents follow the spies around New York,
ending up at Yankee Stadium, the home of the New York Yankees baseball team.
 
Mr. Hoover calls Agent Hardesty again and orders him to have the spies arrested when they
pass the coin.
 
The FBI Story
8. At Yankee Stadium
 
The spy leaves the stadium and then is followed to "Broadway Joe", a small establishment.
 
The FBI Story
9. Broadway Joe's place
 
Whitey and Metzger meet, watched by FBI agents.
 
The FBI Story
10. Russian spies together
 
Whitey slides the special coin to Metzger.
 
The FBI Story
11. Passing the special coin
 
An agent grabs the coin which breaks open.
Other agents arrest the two men for espionage.
 
The FBI Story
12. Busted
Notes:
 
Cast:
James Stewart as John 'Chip' Hardesty
Vera Miles as Lucy Hardesty
 
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Writers: Richard L. Breen, John Twist, Don Whitehead (book)
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