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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
The headlight covers switch between the wartime "slit" to no covers and back again when the general is being abducted in his car. See more »
Like 'Spleen', I first thought that we were seeing genuine Cretan landscapes. But what puzzled me was not being able to recognise any of it - even allowing for change - especially the coastline where Moss and his party landed. (In his book, he refers to a distinctive landscape) A little digging
on this site- revealed that the film was made in France and Italy with
no mention of Crete. The title, 'Ill met by moonlight' surely refers to the 'meeting' of Kreipe and his abductors. The film couldn't really show the fact that Leigh Fermor and Moss et al attempted the abduction on the four evenings that preceeded the actual abduction. The earlier attempts were abandoned because Kreipe came along whilst it was too early for moonlight! (one wonders why was it necessary to change the title for the US market?) I thoroughly enjoy the film, watch it every opportunity and each time pick up something that I've missed previously. However, I cannot help but wonder how much better it might have been if the writers had stuck more closely to the original script throughout. They had informed advisers available, Micky Akoumianakis was a true participant, and Houseman was in Crete as an British agent for a long part of the occupation. Though thoroughly grounded in fact, the few 'elaborations' detract from what was surely a solid enough story to stand on its own.
Regardless of the differences, I continue to regard the film as one of my most favourites.
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