Set in German-occupied Norway, this is an embellished account of the remarkable efforts of the Norwegian resistance to sabotage the German development of the atomic bomb. Resistance fighter Knut Straud enlists the reluctant physicist Rolf Pedersen in an effort to destroy the German heavy water production plant near the village of Rjukan in rural Telemark. In the process, Pedersen discovers that his ex-wife Anna and her uncle have also joined the resistance. British commandos dispatched to destroy the plant are killed when their glider hits the mountainside at night. An improvised raid by the resistance ends in the partial destruction of the heavy water canisters, but the contingency plans of Reichskommissar Terboven enable the Germans to resume production quickly. Pedersen wants to recommend to London that the Allies bomb the plant. Straud opposes him because of the potential death toll on Norwegian civilians and a fight ensues. They send in separate recommendations, and the air raid ... Written by
The book 'The Special Operations Executive 1940-1946' by M.R.D. Foot states that Operation Gunnerside, one of the three and most successful of the three missions that this film is based on, was later labeled by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) as being the most successful act of sabotage in all of the Second World War. This raid was given the highest military priority and it dealt a serious drawback to the Nazis' development of an atomic bomb in World War II. See more »
Character Anna Pedersen in a couple of scenes is wearing a knitted sweater known as Mariusgenser with characteristic pattern (made for brothers Marius and Stein Eriksen). This pattern was introduced for 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, and did not exist at the time of the war. See more »
[Knut hands a revolver to Rolf who looks rather shocked to be given it]
You know what to do? Press this little thing here and the bullets come out there.
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In German occupied Norway during 1942, a group of Norwegian Resistance fighters joined by an initially reluctant Professor of Physics from Oslo University, attempt to destroy a German Heavy Water plant in Telemark, which is vital to the Third Reich's development of Atomic weapons.
What should be a tense and thrilling tale based on a true story is merely watchable. While it maintains your interest, it never grips. This must be down to the Director, Anthony Mann. Perhaps he had become too used to working on three hour epics (El Cid, Fall Of The Roman Empire), and he simply couldn't inject the necessary pace or urgency into a two hour adventure story. The cast are all fine, headed by Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, more troubling is the overall look of the film. Despite extensive and commendable use of the actual locations, its rather unattractively photographed. This is quite surprising considering that Robert Krasker had done such sterling work on Mann's earlier epics. Also, the use of some black and white stock footage of planes is jarring and cheap looking.
This is a good story, worth telling. But as a wartime adventure film it pales in comparison to 'The Guns Of Navarone' or 'Where Eagles Dare', even though both of those stories were entirely fictional.
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