24 September 2011 | MartinHafer
An uneven film but on balance, the good far outweighs the bad.
This is an odd case of casting, as the very American actor, Van Johnson, plays a British officer! However, despite this, the film looks very good for an Italian-made WWII film--sort of like a 'spaghetti' war film. For example, the Dunkirk scene was quite nice and had a pretty expansive look--with a relatively large cast and lots of ships. And SOME of the airplanes were done well (such as the fake He-111 cockpits--VERY nice). Unfortunately, the rest of the planes in the film are an odd lot--probably because the original models weren't available to the Italian film company. The German fighters were often American T-6s or even British Spitfires and the Spitfires were sometimes some odd plane (I assume Italian) that looks a bit like it but whose cockpit and undercarriage look more like that of the German Bf-109. To make it even more confusing, the exact same plane was often used interchangeably by BOTH sides in the film. And, at one point a British fighter plane becomes a Lysander observation plane. Clearly the film's attention to these sort of details was pretty poor...at best. And, late in the film the planes are CLEARLY cheap models. It's best to just close your eyes or so get a snack during these scenes because even if you don't care about these details, it still will confuse you.
The plot itself is rather clever. At Dunkirk, a group of Germans who speak English well are chosen to assume the identities of dead British soldiers. Then, when the British army is rescued, these agents can then infiltrate the country and eventually attack the Brit's most important secret weapon--their radar.
The bulk of the film is executed reasonably well (not always great--but not bad) and it's obvious they spend some money on the film. However, there were a few problems. The punching sounds in the fight scenes sounded EXACTLY like the punching sounds from a kung fu film! There also was a scene involving the killing of a German female agent and it was silly and WAY overdone--and completely unnecessary. All together, the film was very uneven but the good still far outweighed the bad. I would really love to see this film re-done--with a tighter script and more consistent special effects.