Operation Crossbow
by Michael Anderson


UK (Empire Theatre) - May 19, 1965 - Operation Crossbow - 116'
USA (New York City, Music Hall) - April 1, 1965 - Operation Crossbow - 116'
France (Paris) - September 1, 1965 - Opération Crossbow
West Germany - September 2, 1965 - Geheimaktion Crossbow
Italy - December 17, 1965 - Operazione Crossbow
Spain - 1966 - Operación Crossbow

American poster British poster Spanish poster French poster


Second World War, 1942. Winston Churchill assigns a member of the Intelligence Service to pro vide him with detailed information concerning the preparation of special bombs and missiles on the part of the Germans. Three young men are trained to be parachuted beyond enemy lines, where they will assume the identity of three technicians who disappeared a short time before, and work in the secret German factories in order to sabotage the factories and obtain information. One of the men, Robert, is arrested because of a crime committed by the technician whose identity he has assumed; the other two, instead, manage to penetrate the secret base. They sacrifice their own lives to allow British planes to bomb the base by opening the launching hatches of the missiles which are ready for imminent action. (Enrico Lancia)
Story: from a short story by Duilio Coletti and Vittoriano Petrilli


Holkham, Abingdon, London (UK)
MGM British Studios, Borehamwood (UK)

Filming dates: November 1964


George Peppard (Lt. John Curtis)
Jeremy Kemp (Phil Bradley)
Tom Courtenay (Robert Hendshaw)
Trevor Howard (Professor Lindemann)
Sophia Loren (Nora)
Anthony Quayle (Bamford)


(Metrocolor, Panavision):
Erwin Hillier
Art direction:
Elliot Scott
Ron Goodwin
Still photographer:
Curt Gunther, Tazio Secchiaroli
Carlo Ponti


Sophia plays a marginal role which is unsuited for her. She appears in the movie for about ten minutes as her character is killed in the middle of the movie.

After its premiere in the US garnered a lukewarm reception, MGM tried changing the title to The Great Spy Mission, believing that the word "operation" in the original title might lead people to think it was a medical film, a genre which wasn't doing well at the box office in the mid-1960s. (TV Guide)

Sophia's voice is dubbed by Rita Savagnone (Italy), María Luisa Solá (Spanish), Marion Degler (German).


"What is Sofia Loren doing there?"
Il Corriere Lombardo (21 oct 1965)

"The widow is played intensely by a black-wigged Sophia Loren."

Bosley Crowther, New York Times (2 apr 1965)

"There are no minor roles. The interest a character has in not based on the the duration he or she appears on the screen.
I was interested in mine because it showed the worthlessness of war."

Sophia Loren

"Miss Loren has a brief but unforgettable part as the widow of the agent whose identity Peppard borrows."
Alan Ward, Oakland Tribune, 12 aug 1965

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007

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