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 ...
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Sarah Maur Thorp
A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration. He calls himself a social reformer. But what he does is stir up trouble--trouble he soon finds he can't control.
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
This movie is considered to have beaten The Dirty Dozen (1967) in having the first film story about World War II prisoners recruited to go on an impossible suicide mission in exchange for pardons. "The Dirty Dozen" had the same plot but didn't come out until three years later. See more »
Aside from the military uniforms, all clothing worn by both the cast and the extras is current fashion, circa early 1960s. 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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