Based on the true story of how, during World War II, a gang of desparadoes (British officers enlisted for "hostilities only" and local partisans) went to the occupied island of Crete and kidnapped a German General from under the nose of his army. That was the easy bit !!! They then had to get him back to Cairo, dodging an intense air and land search. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Michael Powell's book, "Million Dollar Movie," the film's composer, Mikis Theodorakis, considered it shameful that a story about Cretan resistance fighters would be told by anyone other than Cretans. He told Powell and Pressberger that they were both political "interlopers" -- a label he also used in describing Patrick Leigh Fermor. See more »
General Brauer is shown in the film as wearing army (Wehrmacht) uniform. As a paratrooper, he should be wearing air force (Luftwaffe) uniform. Contemporary photographs show him doing so on Crete. See more »
The worst Powell/Pressburger film; it relies on stock plot devices
This must be the worst film by Powell and Pressburger. Powell describes its failures so well (in his autobiography MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE, page 364) that one need not dwell on all the details. The biggest problem is the flip, arch, schoolboy attitude of the characters. Powell complains of Bogarde, and claims that his performance effected the others, but the script and direction can't escape blame. One of the strong moments in the much more interesting non-fiction book this is based on is when the author realizes that it's not just fun and games but all for real when the general's driver gets killed. This moment of realization is not in the film. The travel across the island with the general is much too long, and there is no evolution to the relationship between the general and his captors, which makes it very tedious. Goring is a weak-sister general; perhaps Powell's first choice of Curt Jurgens could have made a difference. But the greatest disappointment is the use of hackneyed dramatic structure, particularly in the final scenes. Whether Powell and Pressburger were good or bad, they were always original. But the sequence where the general tries to bribe the boy is so familiarly presented that every step of its structure is obvious from the start. Ditto the scene when the general leaves his hat, where we're given a clue in the dialogue that the British are on to this ruse. The scene is baldly inserted to give some sense of danger to the trek. Then there's the "I don't know Morse code, do you?" routine at the end, which is lazily resolved by Cusak coming up out of nowhere with no particular explanation. These, and other tired script devices are taken, unadorned, straight out of Saturday matinée westerns. I can forgive the lack of pacing, but not this. The photography is stunning, even though the "on-location" isn't Crete. And despite Powell's disparaging remarks about VistaVision, it really enhances the black and white.
16 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?