TV Cream

TV: M is for...

Man Called Intrepid, A

DAVID NIVEN. Of course.



  1. George White

    June 15, 2022 at 10:52 pm

    Also with Michael York and a browned up Barbara Hershey as Noor INayat Khan.

  2. George White

    February 15, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Just watched this on youtube.
    Really quite interesting, though often overlong. A proper aul Commonwealth pudding, set all over Europe, but shot in Norway, Canada and England, with studio in Elstree (which also plays both Denham and Pinewood). It begins in London, 1965 with TV footage of Churchill’s funeral, and two men, Sir William Stevenson and a Hollywood set designer, Evan Michaelian who meet after twenty years, and returning to Stevenson’s London house, bemoan while watching telly that kids these days think Churchill played for Manchester United, tell us the story of how they knew Churchill and were assigned his help to defeat the Nazis and smuggle nuclear scientists out of Europe. BTW Niven is supposed to be Canadian, but never bothers to sound anything but Niven. At six hours, it’s padded out with much romance, and everything’s a bit sub-Secret Army (even the music by Robert Farnon who worked on SA), with most of the action donated to Michael York’s Denham Studios set dresser-turned-camouflage expert Evan having a fictitious romance with the very real Noor Inayat Khan (Barbara Hershey in barely any gravy browning).
    The cast is a mix of British-based Brits (Flora Robson, Peter Gilmore, ‘with Nigel Stock as Churchill’, Renee Asherson, Ferdy Mayne as Korda, Marianne Stone), British-based Canadians (Shane Rimmer in a big role, Bruce Boa), Canadian-basedd Brits (Robin Gammell, Paul Harding, the inevitable Chris Wiggins), Canadian-based Canadians (Ken James, Colin Fox, Donald Pilon, Larry Reynolds), and a guest appearance from Gayle Hunnicutt.

    Of the same era as another cross-national Anglo-American wartime pudding, Ike (1979), starring Robert Duvall as Eisenhower, Lee Remick as his ‘British’ (actually Irish) driver, Kay Summersby, the likes of Dana Andrews, Paul Gleason and William Schallert as US military bods, Wensley Pithey ( Ken Barlow’s boss, Bessie street head Wilfrid Perkins and father of Joanna Lumley’s character in Coronation Street) as Churchill (which he also played in Edward and Mrs. Simpson), Ian Richardson (reprising his turn from the equally prestigious but less glam BBC/Mobil Showcase production Churchill and the Generals) as Montgomery, both the American actor Charles Gray and his more famous British namesake, Martin Jarvis as King George, Vernon Dobtcheff as DeGaulle, a young Jonathan ‘Mike from Breaking Bad’ Banks, Francis Matthews as Noel Coward, Terence Alexander as Arthur Tedder, David de Keyser as Alan Brooke, Julia McKenzie, a few Rentayanks like Don Fellows. Like QB VII and the later Winds of war, it’s one of those productions simultaneously using both US studios and Pinewood, so it has the weird dissonance of featuring both British-based Americans and American-based British/Irish actors (William Glover, who played Geoffrey’s old boss in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Dublin-born Redmond Gleeson turn up as a war correspondent and a driver respectively), with the North African scenes shot in sunny California, and at MGM’s crumbling backlot.

    See also the Key to Rebecca (1985) and the Last Days of Patton (1986) for more Anglo-American wartime drudgery.

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