Operation Crossbow

Date: 1965
Director: Michael Anderson
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

Stars: Richard Johnson, Trevor Howard, George Peppard, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, John Mills, Sophia Loren
Location(s): London, Norfolk, Kent, Utrecht Province (Netherlands)

Region(s): , ,


The Germans are developing new weapons at Peenemünde. London comes under attack from V1 flying bombs and later V2 rockets. British agents, selected for their language and engineering skills, are sent into Germany to infiltrate the factories where the weapons are built and sabotage the production process.

Additional Information:

Screen captures and uncredited now shots uploaded by Phil Bailey

Greg Chapman advises that the sequences of the testing of the V-rockets in a sandy dunes location and a few pine trees was Holkham Beach, Norfolk. Some footage he says was also used in Mosquito Squadron.

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If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.

A car arrives in Downing Street, bringing Duncan Sandys (Richard Johnson) to a meeting at number 10.

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Today's Downing Street. Dr. Glenn Horridge (SJ)

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A car arrives at a factory in Germany, bringing Generals Zieman (Paul Henreid) and Linz (Helmut Dantine) and test pilot Hannah Reitsch (Barbara Ruetting).

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Capt. Phil Bradley (Jeremy Kemp) and Lt. John Curtis (George Peppard) depart together after being interviewed for secret work. IMDB identifies this as the grand staircase at the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station.

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Curtis, Bradley and Robert Henshaw (Tom Courtenay) undergo parachute training. IMDB identifies this as RAF Abingdon Parachute School.

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Curtis and Henshaw, having parachuted into Holland, travel up the river Rhine by boat. This is the Lower Rhine at Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht.

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Back projection? As the boat passes Wijk bij Duurstede, the 'Rijn en Lek' windmill and the spire of the catholic church are clearly visible behind; and is that a Renault Dauphine over Henshaw's right shoulder?

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The pair cross the border into Germany.

They arrive at their hotel. IMDB identifies this as Purfleet Street, Kings Lynn, looking towards the Customs House, and Google Street View confirms it. Greg Chapman advises that the Customs House in the distance was also seen in "The Silver Fleet", "One of Our Aircraft is Missing" and "Revolution" (1985). (RL)

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Greg provides an up to date shot of the location showing that most of the buildings have been demolished except for the Customs House. (RL)

Later, Curtis and Bradley wait to board trucks. Purfleet Street, Kings Lynn again.

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Another shot from Greg of the same location with the advice that the building on the left was demolished to make way for the Lynn News offices and also has a cafe and estate agents there. The buildings on the right have made way for a section of car park and Quayside Dental Practice and the rear end of the town's Boots pharmacist, built around three years after the film shot in the street. (RL)

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The trucks depart.

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Unknown location.

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Air raid warnings sound and people head for the shelters as doodlebugs head for London. This appears to be a view south on Allcroft Road, NW5, towards Queens Crescent. Some of this sequence is shared with 'Mosquito Squadron' and capture 1 of that film is identical to this one.

Allcroft Road again, at the junction with Gilden Road. Queen's Crescent is visible in the distance.

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This end of Allcroft Road has been entirely redeveloped, and from the original viewpoint even this glimpse of Queen's Crescent would be hidden now.

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A view along Lismore Road from Lismore Circus, catching numbers 8,10,12,14 on the right of the shot. Compare capture 36 from 'Smashing Time', which seems to show the same houses from the opposite direction.

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Observers keep watch from a rooftop. The large building in the background is the Carlton Primary School in Grafton Road; in the street below we can see the Mamelon Tower pub, on the corner of Grafton Road and Queen's Crescent. The corner of Queen's Crescent and Carltoun Street, featured in captures 29 and 30 of 'The Monster of Highgate Ponds' must be directly behind the observer on the right.

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Impossible to get the original viewpoint, of course; this is taken from the other side of Grafton Road.

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The buzz-bomb passes over. The street sign says 'Grafton Terrace', but is on a building that doesn't match any of the present-day Grafton Terrace; we are looking at the original number 2, with Wellesley Road leading away. The white building right at the bottom of the shot must be the Prince of Wales pub, which was at 62 Wellesley Road. This corner is tantalisingly just out of view in capture 5 from 'The Hand'.

More watchers. St Martin's church, Gospel Oak.

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St Martin's today. When the trees are in leaf, it will be mostly hidden from this angle.

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The engine noise stops and people run for cover. The location is unknown, but we can be sure these houses are not still there today -- they are just about to be blown up.

Another bomb has fallen silent.

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Denis Hoare recognises the junior entrance to his old school, Carlton Road School and sends this Google Earth view of Queen's Crescent, London NW5 with Gillies Street going off to the right background. The entrance has, he says, since been bricked up. (RL)

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On the south coast, Sandys and others watch the V1s fly over. A view of the cliffs to the east of Dover harbour, from the eastern harbour arm.

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A later date. V2 rockets have been launched towards London. An unsuspecting postie walks along a street.