The Secret Invasion (1964)


The Secret Invasion is a 1964 Eastmancolor war film directed by Roger Corman that was filmed in Yugoslavia. In World War II, convicts are recruited by the Allies for an extremely hazardous mission.


Criminal mastermind Rocca (Raf Vallone), demolitions expert and Irish Republican Army member Scanlon (Mickey Rooney), forger Fell (Edd Byrnes), cold-blooded murderer Durrell (Henry Silva), and thief and impersonator Saval (William Campbell) are offered pardons in exchange for attempting to rescue an Italian general sympathetic to the Allies from captivity in German-occupied Yugoslavia. They are led by Major Richard Mace (Stewart Granger), a man trying to expiate his feelings of guilt for sending his own brother on a dangerous mission and waiting too long to extricate him. The fishing boat transporting Mace’s team is stopped by a patrol boat, but they dispose of the Germans.

With the assistance of local partisans led by Marko (Peter Coe), they split up and enter Dubrovnik. Durrell is partnered with Mila (Spela Rozin), a recent widow with a baby. They are attracted to each other, but Durrell accidentally smothers her crying child to avoid detection by a German patrol. The team is captured and taken to the same fortress where the Italian general is being kept. They are tortured for information, but manage to escape and fulfill their mission, although Mace, Fell, Scanlon and Saval are killed while fending off German troops.

At the last minute, Rocca and Durrell, the only two survivors, discover that the man they have freed is an impostor and that he is about to exhort “his” troops to stay loyal to the Axis. Durrell shoots the fake general while pretending to be a Nazi fanatic and is killed by the outraged Italians. Rocca directs the Italians’ anger at the Germans.

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