An absolutely fabulous Powell and Pressburger World War II movie for you all this week and one that I had not seen for a very long while. Ill Met By Moonlight stars among others Dirk Bogarde as a British commando working undercover on the Nazi occupied island of Crete. He has teamed up with the Cretan resistance and this team of resisters become in the words of the leaders of this group, the ‘mountain wolves preying on the Germans below’.
This film really captures the spirit of the heroism of those Cretans who resisted the Nazi occupation and who fought to preserve their families, their island and their culture from the oppression and the destruction that the Germans had brought to Crete. The premise of the film is a plan by the British to capture a high level German officer, take him off the island and to bring him to Cairo.
The plot starts out slowly but builds up and we see the men that the charismatic British officer Major Patrick Leigh Fermor D.S.O. O.B.E, played by Bogarde, forges together as a fighting unit and planning the snatching of the German officer Major General Kreipe, played by Marius Goring. The film, set against the stunning scenery of Crete, shows how the operation is planned and carried out and how it is affected by the actions of individuals such as a Quisling Cretan police officer and a resistance runner who failed to deliver his message because he was drunk. The final scenes of the film are both action packed and also at points have an element of humour to them.
I was delighted to rediscover this movie again and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.