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The Night of the Generals

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Director  Anatole Litvak
Initial DVD release  May 22, 2007
Language  English
7.4/10 IMDb

Genre  Crime, Drama, Mystery
Music director  Maurice Jarre
Country  United KingdomFrance
The Night of the Generals movie poster

Release date  29 January 1967 (1967-01-29) (UK)
Based on  The Night of the Generals1962 novel by Hans Hellmut Kirstand an incident written by James Hadley Chase
Writer  Joseph Kessel (adapted for the screen by), Paul Dehn (adapted for the screen by), Paul Dehn (additional dialogue), Hans Hellmut Kirst (novel), James Hadley Chase (based on an incident written by)
Cast  Peter O'Toole (General Tanz), Omar Sharif (Major Grau), Philippe Noiret (Inspector Morand), Christopher Plummer (Field Marshal Rommel), Howard Vernon (Suspect in Erica Muller's Murder (uncredited)), Juliette Gréco (Juliette)
Similar movies  Palmetto, ?? ???? ???????, Flesh of the Orchid, Passez une bonne nuit

The night of the generals 1967 trailer

The Night of the Generals is a 1967 Franco-British-American Second World War crime mystery film directed by Anatole Litvak and produced by Sam Spiegel. It stars Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay, Donald Pleasence, Joanna Pettet and Philippe Noiret. The screenplay by Joseph Kessel and Paul Dehn was loosely based on the beginning of the novel of the same name by German author Hans Hellmut Kirst. The writing credits also include the line "based on an incident written by James Hadley Chase". Gore Vidal is said to have contributed to the screenplay, but was not credited.


The Night of the Generals movie scenes

The musical score was composed by Maurice Jarre. Parts of this western-made film were shot on actual location in Warsaw, which at the time, was behind the Iron Curtain because of the Cold War. The last scenes of the film were shot in Munich.

The Night of the Generals movie scenes

The night of the generals trailer


The Night of the Generals movie scenes

The murder of a prostitute in German-occupied Warsaw in 1942 causes Abwehr Major Grau (Omar Sharif) to start an investigation, as she was also a German agent. His evidence soon points to the killer being one of three German general officers: General von Seidlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray); General Kahlenberge (Donald Pleasence), his chief of staff; and General Tanz (Peter O'Toole). Grau's investigation, however, is cut short by his summary transfer to Paris at the instigation of these officers.

The Night of the Generals movie scenes

The case in Warsaw remains closed until all three officers meet in Paris in July 1944. Paris is then a hotbed of intrigue, with senior Wehrmacht officers plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Kahlenberge is deeply involved in the plot, while von Seidlitz-Gabler is aware of its existence but is sitting on the fence, awaiting the outcome. Tanz is unaware of the plot and remains totally loyal to the Führer.

The Night of the Generals movie scenes

On the night of 19 July 1944, Tanz orders his driver, Kurt Hartmann (Tom Courtenay), to procure a prostitute; Tanz butchers her so as to implicate Hartmann, but offers Hartmann the chance to desert, which he accepts. When Grau, who is now a Lieutenant Colonel, learns of the murder, committed in the same manner as the first, he resumes his investigation and concludes that Tanz is the killer. However, his timing is unfortunate, because the very next day, the assassination attempt against Hitler takes place. So when Grau accuses Tanz face to face, the general kills Grau and labels him as one of the plot conspirators to cover his tracks.

The Night of the Generals movie scenes

Many years after the war, the murder of a prostitute in Hamburg in 1965 draws the attention of Interpol Inspector Morand (Philippe Noiret), who owes a debt of gratitude to Grau for not revealing his connection to the French Resistance during the war. Almost certain there is a connection to Grau's 1942 case, Morand reopens the cold case and the film begins to shift between the Europe of the 1960s and the Europe of the 1940s.

The Night of the Generals movie scenes

Years later, Morand begins to tie up the loose ends: he finds no criminal activity from Kahlenberge or Seidlitz-Gabler, but learns of one man who knew which man is the real killer. Morand confronts Tanz at a reunion dinner for Tanz's former panzer division. When Morand produces Hartmann as his witness, Tanz goes into a vacant room and shoots himself.


Both O'Toole and Sharif were hesitant to take on their roles for this film. Feeling they owed it to producer Sam Spiegel for making them international stars in Lawrence of Arabia, they did so anyway.


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