A new WWII film starring Colin Firth has been filming in London since December called Operation Mincemeat from See-Saw Films and Cohen Media Group with Archery Pictures. Director John Madden is calling the shots from a screenplay by Michelle Ashford, based on a book by Ben Macintyre of the same name. Based on real-life events, the story centres on two intelligence officers who used a dead body and false papers to outwit German troops in 1943.
Of course, there’s a long tradition of WWII movies where the allied intelligence services put one over on Hitler and the Nazis and many of those real life events were covered in films such as The Two-Headed Spy (Jack Hawkins masquerading as a German general), I Was Monty’s Double, Triple Cross (Christopher Plummer as double agent Eddie Chapman), The Man Who Never Was (Operation Mincemeat, where false invasion plans are planted on a corpse), The Counterfeit Traitor (William Holden as Eric Erickson, the Swedish industrialist who infiltrated the Nazi leadership), The Heroes of Telemark (saboteurs destroying Nazi heavy water plants in Norway), Operation Crossbow (sabotaging Nazi ‘wonder weapons’) and Ill Met By Moonlight (Dirk Bogarde as author Patrick Leigh Fermor who successfully kidnapped a senior German officer in Crete).
The two recent Heydrich assassination dramas The Man With The Iron Heart and Operation Anthropoid dramatized the successful mission to off the architect of the Final Solution – but one paid at a great human cost in terms of the inevitable bloody Nazi revenge.
There’s also of course a number of fictional takes on Allied intelligence successes – including Where Eagles Dare, 36 Hours, Codename: Emerald, Allied etc. Here’s a trailer from James Garner’s incredible 36 Hours which I like.
There were even plots to take down Hitler outside of the Allied Forces, from within his own inner circle, such as the July 20, 1944 plot by German army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and to use the Operation Valkyrie national emergency plan to take control of the country. That thrilling tale was told in the 2008 Tom Cruise vehicle Valkyrie, but that’s not exactly the subject of this post.