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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

A Call to Spy

Streaming on IFC Films / Film & TV

For many decades after World War II ended, almost nobody knew that one of the first American spies to fight the Nazis was a Baltimore debutante named Virginia Hall. Hall was sent by British intelligence to France in 1941 to organize resistance networks, posing as a New York Post reporter. She helped deploy hundreds of agents despite a wooden leg (the result of a shooting accident), which she cheekily named “Cuthbert.” A Call to Spy, a new movie from IFC that is available on demand, tells her story and also sheds light on other intrepid female spies, much the way The Bletchley Circle belatedly credited Britain’s women code-breakers. The Germans were the enemy, but here, too, upper-class British men weren’t always friendly. Hall was an American, and an outsider, and so were her real-life comrades in the secret service, Vera Atkins, born a Romanian Jew, and Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim. A Call to Spy is a suspenseful W.W. II espionage drama, but very much suited to these times. —Alessandra Stanley

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