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The Nazis imprison an Italian general who was planning to switch sides and turn over his army to the Allied side. Allied headquarters sends a small, somewhat misfit group of soldiers to spring the general from prison and carry out his plans. Written by
Director Roger Corman once said of this film: "The odd thing about this movie is that it had a very similar plot to an old western of mine, Five Guns West (1955). It also came out before The Dirty Dozen (1967). I've heard stories that the producers of 'The Dirty Dozen' actually postponed production of their film an entire year because they realized that our story-lines were so similar." See more »
At c.25 minutes there is a short close-up of the baby breast-feeding. However the mother's shirt is a different colour and design from the other shots. See more »
Stewart Granger, Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney, William Campbell,Edd Byrnes, and Henry Silva are part of "The Secret Invasion," directed by Roger Corman. Vallone, Rooney, Campbell and Silva are prisoners who are brought in as part of a mission to free an Italian general, who was about to turn on the Nazis and turn his army over to the allies and is now being held by the Nazis. Granger, as Major Mace, is put in charge of them. If they don't die, they will win their amnesty.
The levels of commitment vary among the men. The organizer, Rocca (Vallone) is a brilliant man who is dedicated to the mission, while Simon Fell (Byrnes), a forger, is not and tries to escape. Mickey Rooney plays the munitions expert, a cheerful Irishman, and Henry Silva plays an assassin, Durrell, who, although quiet, has feelings that run very deep. Saval (Campbell) doesn't trust him.
While this is a derivative movie, it's filled with action, some good characters, sadness, and violence. Corman paces it well. On a side note, because I know German, the German spoken was perfect and, unlike Das Boot, easy to understand.
Corman made this on a low budget, and the actors' performances vary as a result of not being able to fill this movie with an all-star cast. Edd Byrnes leaves a lot to be desired. I remember William Campbell from my childhood in a TV series called "Canonball" - actually, his big claim to fame is that he was married to JFK-Sam Giancana girlfriend Judith Exner. Granger, Vallone, Rooney and Silva are excellent as are the members of the German cast.
Good drama, good war story.
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