Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"The Red Machine" is a lean, intense thriller about a disgraced spy for the U.S. Navy and a jailed safecracker who team up to steal the secret of the Japanese version of Enigma, the Nazi cryptography machine. It’s set in Washington, D.C., in the 1930s when Japan and the United States still had diplomatic relations, and the target is a red cipher machine.
Something happened to Lt. F. Ellis Coburn (Lee Perkins) in Tokyo seven years earlier to turn him into the man we see. He looks to be a flawlessly turned-out Navy officer, but he’s locked behind a stone face and a reputation all his superiors know about. In a climate of expanding promotions as the Navy prepares for war, everyone notices he’s stuck at lieutenant.
Eddie Doyle (Donal Thoms-Cappello) is a cocky young thief straight from a 1930s pulp crime magazine. He approaches his craft as a science, noiselessly breaking and entering, breaking combinations, slipping into the night. He can pick locks and pockets, and works within a tight criminal fraternity ruled by Stella Snyder (Maureen Byrnes), a wise-talking hard-core case.
Navy intelligence has broken all the Japanese codes but this one. The Red Machine baffles them. They assign Coburn to the task because of his undoubted skills and get Eddie released from jail for his particular specialty. Eddie will get them into the guarded embassy, and when Coburn sees the machine, he’ll know what he’s looking at. The machine itself can’t be stolen; the Japanese must never suspect it has been compromised.