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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 »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Harry Frigg
Sylva Koscina ... Countess Francesca Di Montefiore
Andrew Duggan ... General Armstrong
Tom Bosley ... General Pennypacker
John Williams ... General Mayhew
Charles Gray ... General Cox-Roberts
Vito Scotti ... Colonel Ferrucci
Jacques Roux Jacques Roux ... General Rochambeau
Werner Peters ... Major von Steignitz
James Gregory ... General Prentiss
Fabrizio Mioni ... Lt. Rossano
Johnny Haymer ... Sgt. Pozzallo
Norman Fell ... Captain 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


It's not who you con. It's how you do it. See more »


Comedy | War


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was known as "Meanwhile, Far From the Front" when first announced in 1967. See more »


The British Army and Royal Marines eliminated the rank of Brigadier General in 1921. In 1943, as today, the British Army has the rank of Brigadier.

A Brigadier is above a colonel and below a Major General, but British regulations do not consider it a General rank. Rather it's Field Grade, like high colonel.

After NATO was formed, a table standardization made the Brigadier equal to Brigadier General to eliminate confusion.

In 1943, out of Courtesy, American and French officers would treat them as One-Star rank, but in terms of determining command seniority, they would be junior to their American and French counterparts.

If nothing else, the British would never refer to themselves as Brigadier Generals. See more »


Gen. Homer Prentiss: General, you can't pin stars on a Private.
Capt. Stanley: How do you know? It's never been done.
See more »


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

User Reviews

Enjoyable war farce; funny, inventive and entertaining
19 January 2009 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

The story is about five World War II Allied Generals who were captured in a Tunisian Turkish bath by the Italians and at once taken to a sumptuous Italian villa that is their prison…

The villa is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ferrucci (Vito Scotti). The five generals cannot agree on an escape plan… General Homer Prentiss (James Gregory) of Army Public Relations decides to enlist the services of Private Frigg (Newman) in arranging the generals' escape… Frigg, it seems, is a rebel and consummate escape artist who lands constantly in the stockade and he might well apply his rare skills to release the generals…

Frigg is promoted to Major General, and is sent in to lead them out… But once at the villa, he falls for the beautiful Contessa (Koscina), and keeps delaying the escape…

Newman is amusing as the silly officer who must pass himself off as a cultured general who is too modern and cool in his role…

If you are looking for a nice comedy, the film is humorous and, as usual, Sylva Koscina is so lovely to look at

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English | German

Release Date:

29 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meanwhile, Far from the Front See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Albion Film Corp. (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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