A beautiful American stage actress and singer from Portland, Oregon travels to the Far East during the Great Depression and settles in the Philippines. While singing in a Manila cabaret, she falls for a handsome U.S. Army sergeant, John Phillips. When the Japanese attack and invade the Philippines in December, 1941 they become separated. John is captured by the enemy and caught up in the Bataan Death March when the Fil-American Army surrenders after a heroic stand. Desperately searching for him, Claire Phillips uses her acting chops to transform herself into a Filipina of Italian descent and gins up fake identity papers so she can move about freely in occupied Manila.
Using the cover name High Pockets, Claire joins the underground resistance movement. Posing as a glamorous Filipina madam, she runs an exotic nightclub, entertaining Japanese military officers and occupation elite. After John dies in Cabanatuan prison camp, she exacts poetic revenge, flirting with inebriated Japanese officers who unsuspectingly divulge important military intelligence, which she sends to guerilla comrades on Bataan. The money they spend in the club is secretly used to buy food and medicine on the black market. Claire and fellow resistance members risk their lives to smuggle it into the camps, where it saves countless sick and starving American soldiers.
Secret Police chief Colonel Akira Nagahama is on a mission to crush the Philippine resistance. He relentlessly tracks “High Pockets”, unaware at first that she is the seductive chanteuse he banters with each night in the club. The high-risk game intensifies when Claire is betrayed by a comrade and arrested. She is brutally tortured, tried as a spy, condemned to death, locked in a women’s prison and starved but refuses to divulge useful information to enemy interrogators. How she escapes execution, lives to receive America’s highest wartime civilian medal, become a celebrity and inspire a Hollywood spy movie, is just part of her memorable life and legend.
Genre: Documentary Film
Specifications: Running time: 56 minutes. English.
Project Status: Research complete; in production