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"Ill Met by Moonlight"

Dirk Bogarde in: "Ill met by Moonlight"
aka Night Ambush

1957 - UK - War Drama
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Writing credits: W. Stanley Moss (novel), Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Music: Mikis Theodorakis
Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Cyril Cusack, Marius Goring, David Oxley, Laurence Payne.
Lenght: 104 minutes, b&w

An unlikely pair of heroes, Bogarde and Oxley, kidnap nazi general Goring from the German headquarters on Crete in order to transport him to British-occupied Cairo. Aided by a group of Cretan freedom fighters, they hijack the general's car, then lead their captive through dangerous mountain terrain to a waiting boat, while an immense number of Nazi soldiers look for their missing leader.

Loosely based on an actual incident during WW II, the material is handled in an imaginative manner that brings out both the intrigue and the humor in this ordeal. The performances of the three leads add the verve which is vital for the film's success. Foremost among these is Goring as the Nazi general; always overconfident and cocky, he is certain that the two British officers lack the skill with which to carry out such an important mission. Yet, Bogarde and Oxley always come up with some ingenious method with which to thwart their pursuers, never appearing as the unflinching heroes common to so many war films. Goring's last-ditch attempt to alert his soldiers to his whereabouts has him leaving a trail of buttons and medals, which are all picked up by Bogarde [Oxley] and returned to the general after having reached their destination.

The score by Theodorakis was his first such credit for an international film.

TV Guide review
see: The Powell & Pressburger Pages

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