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World War II: France has just surrendered to Nazi Germany, and the
British army who helped fight the attackers, makes a hasty escape via
Dunquerque - so hasty in fact that a battalion of Germans led by Major
Martin (Francisco Rabal) manages to cross the Channel in British uniform
with the British Army.
Why do they do that ?
To destroy the radar stations that give away German air raids and give
the British an advantage in air battles above their own country. Among the
few who suspect that Britain is in fact infiltrated by enemy agents is Captain
Paul Stevens (Frederick Stafford) - but even he can't really see through
the German deception, as he befriends Major Martin and offers him to stay
at his place until further orders. At the same time though, Captain
Stevens tries everything to track down the Germans, but before his very
eyes they manage to blow up a radar station.
It's only by chance that a half-burned ID of Major Martin is found with
the corpse of his girlfriend (Teresa Gimpera), who died for the
fatherland, but when Stevens tries to arrest him, his efforts are cut
short by another German air raid.
Finally, the Battle of Britain has begun, and the Nazi
infiltrators have changed their tactics, and instead of going against
single radar stations, they are now attacking the air defense HG itself
- and sucessfully at first, but Captain Stevens hasn't given up his hunt
for the infiltrators yet, and his military mind tells him that air defense
HQ is the only logical object to attack by the infiltrators, and it all
ends in a big shoot-out at the end of which the Germans are defeated and
most of them are killed.
And the German Luftwaffe ?
It's successfully fought off by the Royal Air Force of course !
US-veteran actor Van Johnson plays the British Air Marshal, who in the
Battle of Britain pilots a fighter plane himself.
This film, a cross between spy and war movie, does not even aim for
historical accuracy, instead aims for a plot of espionage and intrigue
most closely related to American
propaganda films of the 1940's - which doesn't make the film
great, but also not too bad either, ultimately it's a compact if not
terribly original thriller with many a competently orchestrated action
scene (director Castellari's forte) that only falls flat in the air
battles, which are a combination of authentic footage from back in the war
combined with newly shot scenes - which do not work too well together and
look like a sloppy cut and paste job - which derives what should have been
the highlight oof the film of much of its excitement, and ultimately the
film seems to fail to fulfill all of its promises. A pity, because
otherwise the film is pretty good.