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The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968)

Unrated | | Comedy, War | 29 February 1968 (USA)
In 1943, when 5 captured Allied one-star generals cannot agree on an escape plan, the HQ promotes an escape-savvy private to 2-star general and sends him to coordinate the captive VIPs.


Jack Smight


Peter Stone, Frank Tarloff (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Pvt. Harry Frigg
Sylva Koscina ... Countess Francesca De Montefiore
Andrew Duggan ... Gen. Newton Armstrong
Tom Bosley ... Gen. Roscoe Pennypacker
John Williams ... Gen. Francis Mayhew
Charles Gray ... Gen. Adrian Cox-Roberts
Vito Scotti ... Col. Enrico Ferrucci
Jacques Roux Jacques Roux ... Gen. Andre Rochambeau
Werner Peters ... Maj. von Steignitz
James Gregory ... Gen. Homer Prentiss
Fabrizio Mioni ... Lt. Rossano
Johnny Haymer ... Sgt. Pozzallo
Norman Fell ... Capt. Stanley
Buck Henry ... Stockade Commandant
Horst Ebersberg ... Lt. Gruber


When 5 allied generals are captured in Italy in WW II, it is a propaganda nightmare for the Allies. The generals are all 1 star and refuse to take orders from each other in order to plan an escape. Harry Frigg is a private who has escaped from the guard house dozens of times. He is promoted to Major General (2 stars) and ordered to get the generals out once he is captured. Harry is willing to escape, but then he meets the countess ... Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There are 5 Generals inside...and one Private outside...the problem was to get the 5 Generals inside outside...and avoid getting waylaid by a beautiful countess! See more »


Comedy | War


Unrated | See all certifications »





English | German

Release Date:

29 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meanwhile, Far from the Front See more »

Filming Locations:

Sierra Madre, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Johnny Haymer's film debut. See more »


The Countess's clothing and hairstyles are more of the 1960s than the 1940s. See more »


Col. Enrico Ferrucci: Gentlemen, we have finally received a shipment of ammunition. The guards now have bullets in their guns.
See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: The Secret War of Lisa Simpson (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Wartime comedy with Newman as opportunist Private attempting to free Allied generals
25 February 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The film starts in England March 1943 , when non-conformist Private Harry Frigg (Paul Newman) escapes from the guard house but he is detained again , previously he had escaped from prison dozens of times. Tunisia , April 1943 , allied generals are captured , it is a propaganda nightmare for the Allies. The generals are all one star and refuse to take orders from each other in order to scheme a getaway. Northern Italy , May 1943 , the group of American and European generals in prison at a luxurious Italian mansion . London August, 1943 , Major General (James Gregory) assigns Harry Frigg a dangerous mission as part a scheme . He is promoted to two stars Major General and ordered to get the generals out once he is trapped. Harry is parachuted to Northern Italy and imprisoned at the lush palace where are the generals . Harry is willing to escape, but then he meets a gorgeous countess (Sylva Koscina) and falls in love with her . At the beginning the generals suspect Harry Frigg of being a spy in their midst .

This is a warlike comedy with funny moments , bemusing situations and quite entertaining . Likable performance of Paul Newman as silly Private promoted general to help escape other generals from the custody of the Germans. Agreeable screenplay by Peter Stone , also producer . The screenwriter dabbles a comic battle of sexes between an illiterate Newman and a high-class countess . Wonderful Sylva Koscina as cultured countess who establishes a lovely and enjoyable relationship with Paul Newman . Top-drawer acting by secondary all cast as the generals as John Williams , Charles Gray , Andrew Duggan and Tom Bosley . Colorful cinematography in Techniscope by Russell Metty and appropriate musical score by Carlo Rustichelli .

The motion picture is professionally directed by Jack Smight , American filmmaker with a penchant for the bizarre , macabre and extravagant entertainments . He began working for television in the early 50s . After successful ¨Harper¨ also with Paul Newman , in 1966 he realized the quirky caper titled ¨Kaleidoscope¨ . His best movie resulted to be ¨No way to treat a lady¨ , a very black comedy .Being continued by more peculiarities as ¨The Illustred man ¨. It's followed by the barely-released ¨Rabbit run¨, as he went on in TV films as ¨The screaming woman¨ , ¨The longest night¨ and ¨Frankestein: the true story ¨ . After that he directed unconvincing Sci-fi , as big war movie as ¨Midway¨ and one of ¨Airport¨ series . ¨The secret war of Harry Frigg¨ is an acceptable and passable film , a rare Newman film that turned to be such conspicuous lack of success what was a flop at box office ; however , nowadays is best considered.

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