The Night of the Generals

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Released 1967

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Director:
Anatole Litvak
Released:
1967
Rating:
PG

The Night of the Generals is a murder mystery and an examination of the morality of war. The mystery opens in occupied Poland in 1942, where a prostitute is horribly murdered by a man wearing a Nazi general's uniform. Major Grau (Omar Sharif), a tenacious German intelligence officer investigates the crime, which leads him to three suspects - General von Seydlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray), General Kahlenberg (Donald Pleasence), and General Tanz (Peter O'Toole); but his suspects arrange for him to be transferred to Paris, where a similar murder takes place two years later. When Grau is killed in the aftermath of the unsuccesful Generals' Plot against Hitler, it is left to Inspector Morand (Philippe Noiret), a Paris policeman, to take on the case - which is not resolved for another twenty years.

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      • The behaviour of producer Sam Spiegel during the making of this film has been heavily criticised. He was apparently extremely rude to the veteran director Anatole Litvak throughout filming, often in front of the entire crew, and also held both Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif to old contracts they had signed with him years before, so that these two very famous actors were paid much less than was usual for them by 1967. According to one of Spiegel's biographers, their combined salaries came to less than a third of that paid to Donald Pleasence in a supporting role. However, both actors were also entitled to full expenses, a clause of which it is said they took full advantage.

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    Themes

    Military & War, Classics