Of all the film clips director Edmon Roch uses to compose his WW II documentary, GARBO THE SPY — and they include such eclectic sources as documentaries, dramas, both Allied and Nazi propaganda, and cartoons — the ones that he seems to rely on most come from Carol Reed’s OUR MAN IN HAVANA, the film where Alec Guinness snookers the British Secret Service by fabricating a network of Cuban-based spies under his control. Turns out that the story’s original author, Graham Greene, didn’t come up with that idea from whole cloth — during the war, a mysterious Spaniard operating in Great Britain was able to convince the Nazis that the D-day landing at Normandy was just a diversion for the actual invasion, all thanks to information provided by his own network of equally fictional informants.
GARBO THE SPY explores both the history of that spy, Juan Pujol Garcia — known to the Germans as Alaric, “Man of Trust,” and to the British as Garbo for his skill at assuming a convincing role — and how the story of his pivotal role in the war was uncovered by a group of journalists, writers, and scholars. Roch brings a wry outlook to the story — fitting, given Pujol’s rather unusual background — that turns this into an entertaining tale of high-stakes deception.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Roch.
GARBO THE SPY
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