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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
Roger Corman came up with the idea for the film during a visit to the dentist, when he read a magazine article about Dubrovnik. To take his mind off the pain while the dentist was working, he tried to create a story which could be filmed there. After leaving the dentist, he returned to his office and wrote the first treatment for the script. 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 »
Roger Corman got his largest budget to date and distribution through United Artists for The Secret Invasion. Even though the story is a combination of The Dirty Dozen and The Guns Of Navarone, it's all delivered in nice style.
Heading the mission is Major Stewart Granger and the time is during those days just before the Allies invaded Italy proper having already landed and occupied Sicily. He gets himself a choice team of criminals of varying kind all with certain specialties. His team includes Raf Vallone, Edd Byrnes, William Campbell, Mickey Rooney, and Henry Silva. With Granger that makes it a half a dozen.
These six are to go into occupied Yugoslavia and kidnap a popular Italian general. Remember at this point in time Mussolini had already been overthrown and the Allies were conducting negotiations with Field Marshal Badoglio to take Italy out of the Axis orbit. Command broke down in the Italian Army and Badoglio dragged his feet somewhat. So this was a move in Yugoslavia where the Italians had considerable troops.
Things didn't quite work out for Granger and the rest of his half dozen no more than they did for the Allies and Badoglio. Still the mission is completed kind of and a few actually survive to tell the tale.
Best in the cast is Mickey Rooney who adopts a nice Irish brogue as he plays an IRA man who's good with explosives. Like the rest he's fighting for a pardon if he gets back from Yugoslavia. He looks like he's having a great old time in the part. Given his last name you'd think the Mick would have played more Irish types in films. But remember he was born Joe Yule, Jr. quite Jewish.
The Secret Invasion will not be one of Roger Corman's cult classics, it had too big a budget for that. Still it's an enjoyable film, war film fans will like it.
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