Railroad inspector Brock (Hetterle) witnesses two thieves burglarizing a train car one night. Though he recognizes one of the men, Runge (Richter-Reinick), he keeps silent when questioned by the police. It is only when Runge, who also recognizes Brock, sends his henchman Frank (Jonischkan) to pump information from Brock's pretty daughter Vera (Bürger) that the truth about their dark past comes to light.
A taut Cold War thriller in the vein of classic Hitchcock or Fritz Lang, Kunert's "Second Track" is legendary in postwar German cinema for dealing squarely with everyday citizens' complicity in the atrocities of the Nazi era. (Perhaps that's why the film was only recently unearthed.) Splendid acting by Hetterle and Buerger combined with a menacing ambience enhanced by Rolf Sohre's expressive black-and-white cinematography keep this dark tale of repressed guilt from going off the rails.