Marthe Richard (Edwige Feuillere) has grown up despising the memory of German army officer Von Ludow (Erich von Stroheim), who ordered the execution of Marthe's mother and father. Years later, Marthe offers her services as a secret agent on behalf of France. Dispatched to Spain, she once more crosses the path of Von Ludow, now in charge of the German secret service. Not recognizing the heroine, Von Ludow finds himself falling in love with her. Upon learning that he's been tricked by Marthe into betraying his country, the old soldier does the honorable thing by committing suicide -- and such is the power of Erich von Stroheim's performance that the audience by now is on his side.
by Hal Erickson synopsis