Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Man Who Never Was, or: Operation Mincemeat Is a Terrible Codename

The next few weeks on the blog are basically anything goes as we Blog Free or Die Hard. Freedom, carpe diem, etc. This week I picked a WWII thriller because I didn’t think I could handle two Polanski films in a row. I do really love Chinatown, though.  Our film for the week is the nonsensically titled The Man Who Never Was.

As usual, find Christa’s review here!

The Film:

The Man Who Never Was

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Those sneaky Brits come up with a plan to mislead the Nazis about where the invasion of Sicily will occur.

The Uncondensed Version:

Based on the introduction, this film is going to be super melodramatic. These two military dudes are talking, and the younger dude (Montagu) gets stuck with the job of tricking the Germans into thinking the invasion of Sicily will be somewhere else (NOTE: I was trying to place the younger guy, Montagu, and I finally Googled him [bad librarian]. He’s that really sketchy journalist in Laura!)

Even though he is apparently a reasonably important naval commander, Montagu seems to have a staff of two to accomplish this. But maybe that’s normal for the military, IDK.

A man reads from a portfolio in a basement office as two employees look on.
Understaffed? Underfunded? Check and check.

Staff = assistant Pam and this lieutenant who is also an assistant. I felt he wasn’t particularly important in this film, so I didn’t really make an effort to figure out exactly what his role was. Pam is def important, along with her roommate of loose morals, Gloria Grahame. Obv Lucy/Gloria Grahame is American b/c no Englishwoman would have such low standards of morality. It sucks to be Lucy as the dude she’s dating is a pilot, and she is way more into him than she’d like to admit.

But back to the military strategy side of things. Montagu decides he will fool the Nazis by planting the body of a downed pilot off the coast of Spain. This is Operation Mincemeat, aka one of the worst codenames for a military operation in history. There are two major obstacles to overcome for the plan to work: 1. Montagu needs a body, and 2. The strategic meeting pretty much exists for all of the important military dudes to criticize Montagu’s plan and person.

A man with military decoration rests his hand reassuringly on another man's arm.

However, Montagu eventually manages to wrangle a body from a Scotsman. He and his crew have to spend quite a lot of time deciding what the pilot should be carrying: passport, love letters, picture of Gloria Grahame, etc.

After Montagu sets the body on its way, he is troubled, which you know because there are shots of him thinking about the ocean while everyone else is laughing and having a jolly old time.

Surprisingly, things go according to plan, and the Greeks or Italians or whatever find the body. (It took me a while to figure out what nationality these ‘50s people were going for, but it’s Spanish.)

In a dramatic twist, a Nazi spy arrives in London and starts stalking Gloria Grahame. Will GG be able to fool the Nazis, save England, and preserve life as we know it? (Sorry, Christa, I just stole your blog technique.)

I’ll give you a hint: GG comes in really drunk and starts reciting Tennyson and half-assedly playing the piano and crying.

A woman looks blearily around her as she sits at a piano.
Oh, girl. We’ve all been there.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I expected this to be a bit more on the thriller/film noir end of the spectrum, but there were quite a lot of lengthy logistical discussions. Ex: there was a scene where Montagu was rubbing a letter on a cabinet to make it look old, followed by a discussion about why exactly he was doing so. Not the most gripping dialogue in the history of cinema.

And, typically, Montagu ends up with a medal and GG doesn’t even get a fucking mention.

Have you read Christa’s review yet? Well, why not? You can find it here!

7 thoughts on “The Man Who Never Was, or: Operation Mincemeat Is a Terrible Codename”

  1. I agree re: it not being Noir-ish enough. You’d think with the introduction of Lucy it would take that turn but it does not. Still, I thought it was quite good actually. Definitely not my usual type of film but that’s totally fine, and why we’re doing this after all! Forgot totally to mention the codename, love that he picked it, very witty! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right??? It was a decent film, but I can see why it’s not one of the go-to WWII classics.
      I think we may have to watch Chinatown or maybe Laura in Dec. There is a disappointing lack of noir on Netflix.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I haven’t seen Laura and it’s been year and years since I saw Chinatown, so I am up for both. Mildred Pierce is my favourite Noir, but I also love Double Indemnity. God’s sake, I hope they get added to Flix soon. Into the free for all/classic season xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh damn, we might have to go with Laura then. Pre-horror Vincent Price = amazing!
          Double Indemnity YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I also adore Out of the Past, which I only watched b/c I saw it referenced in an Italian comedy. Obv. Definitely not on Netflix. :/


  2. “Operation mincemeat” is so weird! Especially when it’s in dealing with a corpse! For what reasons?
    Loving your guys’ post-Halloween free-for-all! (which leads me to remember to ask: are you going to brave Christmas films?! – by far my favourite films because I am a giant unashamed sap).
    🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We haven’t discussed Christmas, honestly! Prob b/c we are hopeless cynics. 😉
      I think we should at least do 1 or 2 Christmas films, but you know I will keep you updated!


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