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The incredible but true story of how an impersonator was recruited to impersonate General Montgomery to mislead the Germans about his intentions before the Normandy campaign. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
When ME Clifton James is taken by Harvey to meet Field Marshal Montgomery to gain his approval - and to overcome James' nerves - James is wearing the service dress uniform of a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Pay Corps (which is correct). However, his cap badge bears the post-1953 Queen's Crown rather than the 1910-52 King's Crown which would be correct for the time of the action in the film, 1944. See more »
[A civilian has just bumped into Clifton-James outside a cinema]
Who do you think you are?
Yes, who do you think you are? Monty?
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The story you are about to see is the story of one of the boldest deceptions of our time in which Meyrick Clifton James, late of Her Majesty's Pay Corps, re-enacts his own real-life role. The Producer is deeply grateful to H.E. The Governor and Commander-in-Chief and those member of the Administration and Services at Gibraltar in March 1958, who rendered their invaluable assistance in the reconstruction of certain scenes of this film. See more »
Entertaining film, but considerably different to the book
The film I Was Monty's Double was made in 1958 and was based on M.E. Clifton James' book of the same name which was first published in 1954. Anyone who has read the book will soon see that considerable licence has been used in making the film and that it markedly differs from the line of events in the book. That said, I Was Monty's Double is still an entertaining film with M.E. Clifton James playing himself, and Monty of course, with John Mills as the dashing British officer who is James' minder and trainer.
James actually played his part in the film quite well; consequently I was surprised to note that his name in the credits came dead last in the cast. Poor M.E. Clifton James, he did not even rate billing above actors playing minor characters, even though he was the absolute centre of the film and was with Mills by far the most filmed actor and character of all.
In real life during the war when he was playing Montgomery in 1944, James ran the risk of assassination by German agents; so Montgomery, admiring James' courage, forced the War Office to pay James the salary of a full general of the British army (then Montgomery's paid rank) for the five weeks that the charade was in operation while James was paraded around the Med as Monty. The niggardly War Office resisted this, but eventually reluctantly came round to complying with Montgomery's wishes. That he, Montgomery, had upset the mandarins of the War Office over this matter and had forced them to concede on it delighted Monty no end.
James, an Australian by birth, sadly died on 8 May 1963 at the age of 65, which was no great age to depart this mortal coil even in the early 60s.
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