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Garbo: The Spy (2009)

Nigel West , Mark Seaman , Edmon Roch  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Garbo: The Spy + Operation Garbo: The Personal Story of the Most Successful Spy of World War II (Dialogue Espionage Classics) + Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day
Price for all three: $55.90

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nigel West, Mark Seaman, Xavier Vinader, Stan Vranckx, Aline Griffith
  • Directors: Edmon Roch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, German, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006WCDAHK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the year's best documentaries! Ingenious & engrossing. --Roger Ebert

The flair of a Hollywood spy movie: Garbo is dramatic, entertaining, even funny. --The New York Times

[five stars] Wonderfully entertaining...a real life spy thriller! Intrigue, an aura of suspense and an ambiance of uncertainty makes this a treat. --Jennifer Merin, About.com

Product Description

{WINNER! Best Documentary Film; XXIV Goya Awards 2010}
{WINNER! Best Documentary Film and Best Script; II Gaudi Awards Catalan Film Academy}
{WINNER! Best European Documentary Film; Sevilla European Film Festival}

The Allies called him Garbo. The Nazis dubbed him Alaric. Both sides in World War II were sure Juan Pujol Garcia was their man. In reality, Pujol was a double agent - and his final allegiance was to the Allies.

From the comfort of Lisbon, Garbo fed false information to the Nazis and fabricated a network of phantom agents across Europe. Although he never fired a single shot, Garbo helped to save thousands of lives, most notably by misinforming the Germans about the timing and location of D-Day. In his inexhaustible imagination he even went so far as to secure death benefits from the Nazis for an imaginary agent's nonexistent widow.

In this documentary thriller, director Edmon Roch (producer of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful) artfully interweaves propaganda footage, interviews with intelligence experts and key players in Garbo's life (as well as with Garbo himself), and clips from Hollywood films to conjure forgotten and living memories, heroes and spies, secrets and lies.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The story of the double agent code-named Garbo is perhaps one of the most incredible true life tales to emerge from World War II (or even from history in general). So I enthusiastically looked forward to Edmon Roch's new documentary feature "Garbo: The Spy." A Spanish national who had seen the ravages of Communism and Fascism during the Spanish Civil War, Joan Pujol Garcia wanted to work with the Allies to oppose the Franco regime. When the British turned he down, he took matters into his own hands and offered his talents to the Germans as a devout zealot to their cause. He started feeding them faulty and/or fabricated information which led him to once again knock on British Intelligence's door. "Garbo: The Spy" relates this twisted tale and much more. Garbo's participation as a double agent led to a pivotal shift of power and he is credited with a major hand in the war's resolution. Unbelievable stuff!

But even as this is a thrilling subject, Roch's documentary is surprisingly low-key. The main text is related in a series of interviews with historians, reporters, and other spies. In an unusual choice, Roch doesn't even acknowledge who his contributors are for quite some time. I found myself questioning if I had missed something before the point where they are identified, but did enjoy how they were revealed. The talking head sequences are intercut primarily with movie clips in the first part of the film and archival footage in the second part. I didn't expect all the movies footage, most only thematically related to any particular topic at hand. But I did like it. It's an interesting approach, perhaps not for everyone, but I was never less than entertained.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Wonderfully Told May 10, 2012
This is one of the best stories ever. However, having no archive footage of Mr. Pujol in the 40s, it was certainly a difficult one to tell. Roch solves this masterfully by using clips of the films that inspired Mr. Pujol's naive attempts of becoming a spy. It is great the use of cartoons, newsreels, archive footage and Hollywood classics like PATTON, THE LONGEST DAY, MATA HARI and specially OUR MAN IN HAVANA, Mr. Greene's novel inspired by Juan Pujol. I read that Mr. Roch tells that OUR MAN IN HAVANA is the remake of Pujol's life. Lovely extras including a long interview with Nigel West and great archive footage. I give it a 5 out of 5.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unveiling a man worth knowing about January 4, 2013
a very stylish 90-minute documentary on an important world war ii spy working with Britain's MI5 - as a double agent - who was so successful at fooling the nazis - that he was rewarded by them at wars end

it feels as if the events are unveiled like a spy mission itself - and it isn't until the last part of the film that the the shadowy man at the center is brought out into the light - in fact - like the information gathering of espionage - the last tidbits of information are dropped into the closing credits - so be sure to watch them

the interviews with experts - such as Nigel West - are beautifully filmed and recorded - and carefully inserted thru out the film - for maximum effect

my only gripe - are the spy movie inserts - which i suppose provide some atmosphere and background - at least the frequency of their intrusions declines as the movie progresses - and it made me want to find out who the sexy babe in one of them was - i think its Ilona Massey

this is a slick and moody film - informative - about a man worth knowing about - Juan Pujol Garcia
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning true story. April 14, 2014
The Allies called him Garbo. The Nazis dubbed him Alaric. Both sides in World War II were sure Juan Pujol Garcia was their man. In reality, Pujol was a double agent – and his final allegiance was to the Allies.

From the comfort of Lisbon, Garbo fed false information to the Nazis and fabricated a network of phantom agents across Europe. Although he never fired a single shot, Garbo helped to save thousands of lives, most notably by misinforming the Germans about the timing and location of D-Day. In his inexhaustible imagination he even went so far as to secure death benefits from the Nazis for an imaginary agent’s nonexistent widow.

In this documentary thriller, director Edmon Roch artfully interweaves propaganda footage, interviews with intelligence experts and key players in Garbo’s life (as well as with Garbo himself), and clips from Hollywood films to conjure forgotten and living memories, heroes and spies, secrets and lies.

Jon Ted Wynne Review:
I freely admit to being deeply interested in military history. I also believe WWII was undoubtedly the pivotal incident of the 20th-Century. One reason for both these opinions is that new stories about the major conflicts of the past continue to be discovered today, especially WWII. Because of this, there will likely never be a final word on the subject. Think of the treasure of untapped riches just waiting to be mined! GARBO, the story of arguably the greatest spy of the Second World War, is one of the latest examples of this theory.

Espionage fascinates. James Bond will always be there to meet the expectations of many, but the reality is far bleaker, as we know from such films as “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.
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