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Germany, World War II. Nazi engineers develop a rocket that could change the outcome of the war. Now, with the lives of millions and the fate of the free world in the balance, one spy ventures deep into enemy territory to find and destroy the massive rocket factory in a one-way mission codenamed: Operation Crossbow.George Peppard stars as Lieutenant John Curtis, the Allied espionage agent who infiltrates the secret Nazi weapons facility, and Sophia Loren stars as the wife of the scientist whose identity Curtis has assumed ... the one person who could reveal his cover to the Nazis, thwart the mission and decide the outcome of the war in this riveting espionage thriller.]]>
The tale begins around the midpoint of the war, with Hitler aspiring to hurl a second Blitz against London using "flying bombs" and rockets. The British War Office starts recruiting officers fluent in the necessary technical fields, as well as German, Dutch, and/or French--the languages of the Nazi-occupied countries from which the Germans are recruiting technical personnel. The screenplay follows two tracks: the Germans' progress with their new aerial weaponry, and the progress of the Allied infiltrators--chiefly Yank George Peppard, chirpy Englishman Jeremy Kemp, and Dutchman Tom Courtenay--sent to penetrate the V2 project.
Despite the resemblance between the Navarone caves and the underground V2 launch center, Crossbow is something of an anti-Navarone. Its heroes are resolutely small-scale, and the mission is fraught with more opportunities for horrible miscues and moral-ethical murkiness than commando derring-do. The most memorable, indeed disturbing, part of the film involves Sophia Loren as the apolitical wife of a collaborator she doesn't know has been killed (and his identity assumed by Peppard). John Mills and Trevor Howard are deliciously deadpan trading war-council flapdoodle at the highest echelon, and Anthony Quayle (the spiritual leader of the Navarone mission) does yeoman service in a tricky role. Time--or rather, the transfer to video--has also been kind to the film's thin, overlit Metrocolor and last-reel special effects, which looked feebler on theater screens. The writers include Michael Powell's longtime partner Emeric Pressburger (under the pseudonym Richard Imrie). --Richard T. Jameson
Top Customer Reviews
The V-1 "Buzz Bomb" was a nightmare for those living in London in the summer of '44, and perhaps the most gripping part of the film is its depiction of London being hit with these dreaded missiles, with some amazing cinematography by Erwin Hillier.
George Peppard is a smooth spy, and does many scenes speaking German, though he looks 100% American, perhaps because of the hat he wears pushed back on his head, which would have been a givaway had he really been in enemy territory.
Richard Johnson is wonderful as Duncan Sandys, who believes action is imperative and that "in war, decisions almost always have to be made on incomplete knowledge; if you wait until you're certain, you're sure to be too late", and goes against Trevor Howard as Professor Linderman, who is not convinced that the situation is serious, or even exists.
(Duncan Sandys was Churchill's son-in-law, and not a very popular fellow with the RAF, because he thought the future of air warfare was in missiles and rockets, and not in manned flight).
Other top-notch actors are Sophia Loren looking beautiful, Tom Courtenay, John Mills, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Richard Todd, and Lilli Palmer marvelous as a resistance worker in Holland.Read more ›
With a stellar international cast this movie curiously gave Sophia Loren top-billing even though her role is little more than an extended cameo. It appears that the producer wanted to give the movie a greater appeal at the American box-office and so he asked his wife (Loren) to play the role of wife to the character which Peppard's character (an Allied agent) is impersonating. As such her appearance is unnecessary and feels tacked on (as it probably was).
But never matter, this is a solid war movie and the cast all handle their roles well. As far as stars go it's a virtual embarrassment of riches with the likes of Sir John Mills, Trevor Howard and Anthony Quayle (this time as a German agent) all performing admirably.
Taking as it's basis the development by Nazi Germany of the rocket technology that terrorized London in the closing days of the war this movie follows the initial British investigation into the possibility of a rocket threat (with Howard as the sceptic and Mills as the lead proponent), through the recruitment of German and Dutch speaking agents and on to the infiltration of the Germans underground bases.
It's all handled very well and is in fact a very handsome production with some excellent sets and locations. The suspense is also ratcheted up nicely in the closing minutes as the bombers close in on the base, looking and looking for the agents on the ground to "light" the target.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Allstar cast. Well acted. Good film on the Nazi rocket program in the Second World War.Published 4 months ago by Robert R. Smale
Good tense drama, dangerous mission that really happened. Sophia Loren as usual is sexy and the closeups of her face are awesome.Published 8 months ago by Steve
Ponti was a Pimp: spoiler alert!
save your 8 bucks; great actors performances wasted by fabricated history, needless killing off of so many characters and the completely... Read more
PLOT: destroy Nazi Germany's ability to build rockets.
PEENEMUNDE~ an ultra 'secret' facility built on the German coast and hides a secret. Read more
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