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Night Ambush (1957)

Ill Met by Moonlight (original title)
Unrated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | July 1958 (USA)
Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo, Egypt to embarrass the occupiers.

Writers:

W. Stanley Moss (adapted from the book: "Ill Met By Moonlight" The Wartime Diary in Crete of), Michael Powell | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dirk Bogarde ... Major Patrick Leigh Fermor D.S.O. O.B.E. also known to the Cretans and the German Secret Police as PHILEDEM
Marius Goring ... Major General Kreipe
David Oxley ... Captain W. Stanley Moss, M.C.
Dimitri Andreas Dimitri Andreas ... Niko (as Demetri Andreas)
Cyril Cusack ... Sandy
Laurence Payne ... Manoli
Wolfe Morris ... George
Michael Gough ... Andoni Zoidakis
John Cairney ... Elias
Brian Worth Brian Worth ... Stratis Saviolkis
Roland Bartrop Roland Bartrop ... Micky Akoumianakis (as Rowland Bartrop)
George Eugeniou George Eugeniou ... Charis Zographakis
Paul Stassino ... Yani Katsias
Adeeb Assaly Adeeb Assaly ... Zahari
Theo Moreas Theo Moreas ... Village Priest
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Storyline

Based on the true story of how, during World War II, a gang of desparadoes (British officers enlisted for "hostilities only" and local partisans) went to the occupied island of Crete and kidnapped a German General from under the nose of his army. That was the easy bit. They then had to get him back to Cairo, Egypt, dodging an intense air and land search. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They stole a General under the noses of his 20,000 crack paratroops See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Greek | German

Release Date:

July 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Ambush See more »

Filming Locations:

Alpes Maritimes, Alps, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Major General Kreipe (Marius Goring) is at pains to correct the pronunciation of Captain W. Stanley Moss, M.C. (David Oxley) when he identifies the search aircraft being used by their German pursuers as a Fiesler Storch Fi 156. The aircraft is in fact a post war French built, Morane-Saulnier MS.505 Criquet. Morane-Saulnier built the Storch for the German military during the war, and under license for the Armée de l'air post war. The variant in this movie is easily identifiable by its radial engine, all German variants used an Argus inline engine. See more »

Goofs

Not only does the General's car have French registration plates, but it's not a 1941 Mercedes-Benz, but one of early 1950s vintage. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Patrick Leigh Fermor aka Philedem: Field Marshal Rommel won't be in Cairo but you will be!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version of the film, titled "Ill Met by Moonlight", is 11 minutes longer than the version originally released in American markets. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Michael Powell (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

The worst Powell/Pressburger film; it relies on stock plot devices
9 December 2004 | by bensonjSee all my reviews

This must be the worst film by Powell and Pressburger. Powell describes its failures so well (in his autobiography MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE, page 364) that one need not dwell on all the details. The biggest problem is the flip, arch, schoolboy attitude of the characters. Powell complains of Bogarde, and claims that his performance effected the others, but the script and direction can't escape blame. One of the strong moments in the much more interesting non-fiction book this is based on is when the author realizes that it's not just fun and games but all for real when the general's driver gets killed. This moment of realization is not in the film. The travel across the island with the general is much too long, and there is no evolution to the relationship between the general and his captors, which makes it very tedious. Goring is a weak-sister general; perhaps Powell's first choice of Curt Jurgens could have made a difference. But the greatest disappointment is the use of hackneyed dramatic structure, particularly in the final scenes. Whether Powell and Pressburger were good or bad, they were always original. But the sequence where the general tries to bribe the boy is so familiarly presented that every step of its structure is obvious from the start. Ditto the scene when the general leaves his hat, where we're given a clue in the dialogue that the British are on to this ruse. The scene is baldly inserted to give some sense of danger to the trek. Then there's the "I don't know Morse code, do you?" routine at the end, which is lazily resolved by Cusak coming up out of nowhere with no particular explanation. These, and other tired script devices are taken, unadorned, straight out of Saturday matinée westerns. I can forgive the lack of pacing, but not this. The photography is stunning, even though the "on-location" isn't Crete. And despite Powell's disparaging remarks about VistaVision, it really enhances the black and white.


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