Nils Asther and Eva Gabor in Forced Landing, 1941
From 1941-3, Nils Asther acted in a total of three war dramas for Pine-Thomas Productions, all with Richard Arlen as the hero and Asther doing service as chief villain, marked from the start by his suave manners and thick European accent.
Forced Landing, 1941, was the first of these films. Asther played Colonel Jan Golas, a Pacific islands dictator vying with Richard Arlen for the affections of the beautiful Eva Gabor (in her first US picture). Ever treacherous, Asther decides that the best way to clear a path for himself is by sending Arlen on a suicide mission.
In subsequent films, Asther was to repeat his role of untrustworthy foreigner.
In Flying Blind, 1941, he became Erik Karolek, a spy attempting to hijack Arlen's honeymooner charter plane after stealing military secrets. Later, in Submarine Alert, 1943, Asther was Dr Huneker, locking Arlen in a room with toxic gas for discovering his secret Nazi identity.