Into the White
|Into the White|
|Directed by||Petter Næss|
|Produced by||Peter Aalbæk Jensen
Valerie Edwina Saunders
|Written by||Ole Meldgaard
|Starring||Stig Henrik Hoff
|Music by||Nils Petter Molvaer|
|Edited by||Frida Eggum Michaelsen|
Zentropa International Norway
Film i Väst
Trollhättan Film AB
|Distributed by||Scanbox Entertainment|
|Running time||104 minutes|
|Box office||$704 (US)|
Into the White (Cross of Honour in the United Kingdom) is a film set during the Second World War and directed by Petter Næss. It is inspired by and loosely based on real-life events that occurred in Norway during the war.
The movie was written by Ole Meldgaard, Dave Mango and directed by Petter Næss. The film stars David Kross, Stig Henrik Hoff, Florian Lukas, Rupert Grint and Lachlan Nieboer. Filming began 28 March 2011 in Grotli, Norway, with some scenes being shot in Trollhättan and Brålanda, Sweden. The finished film was released in March 2012.
On 27 April 1940, Luftwaffe pilot Horst Schopis' bomber, a Heinkel He 111 (1H+CT) is shot down near Grotli by a Fleet Air Arm Blackburn Skua (L2940) fighter, which also crash-lands near the same location. The surviving German and British crew members have to share the same cabin to survive the harsh, Norwegian winter. An unlikely, lifelong friendship blossoms between the pilots.
Real life events
In 1974, the original L2940 was recovered from Breidalsvatnet lake near Grotli in Skjåk municipality and the wreck is on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton. The original Heinkel wreck remains in the mountains at Grotli around 1,000 metres above sea level, left untouched in the snow.
Horst Schopis spent seven years as a prisoner of war in Canada. A few days after they returned to England, Drew Davenport and Smith flew a mission to the Trondheim area. Once again, they were shot down. Davenport was captured and spent the rest of the war in a German prison camp. Smith died in the attack. Strunk is buried at the war cemetery for Germans in Trondheim. Josef Auchtor spent the rest of the war in a prison camp in Canada. In 1977, Horst Schopis received a call from Davenport at his home in Munich. Subsequently, the two visited each other in Munich and London.
In 1974 and 2004, Horst Schopis visited Grotli, but died in 2011, one year before the film's release, at age 99. British captain R.T. Partridge visited Grotli in 1974, and died in 1990.
The film account is loosely based on historical events, although the British characters' names are changed. Captain R.T. Partridge is renamed Charles P. Davenport and Lieutenant R.S. Bostock became Robert Smith. The German characters bear the names of their real-life counterparts.
Three British Royal Navy Blackburn Skuas operating from HMS Ark Royal attacked the Heinkel He 111 and knocked out the Germans' port engine. The German aircraft crashed 1,000 meters above sea level in a remote mountain area, miles from any major road. The German tail gunner Hans Hauck was dead when the plane crashed.
Captain R.T. Partridge, squadron leader of the Royal Marines 800 Naval Air Squadron Fleet Air Arm experienced a failing engine in his Skua and glided down to land on a frozen lake. He had seen a small hut nearby and he and his radio operator, Lieutenant Bostock, hiked through heavy snow to the deserted reindeer hunters' cabin. A few minutes later, they were alerted by a whistle and saw the three survivors of the German Heinkel armed with pistols and knives.
Speaking broken German and English, the British managed to persuade the Germans that they were the crew of a Vickers Wellington bomber, rather than the fighter that had shot them down. The Germans believed that they had been shot down by a Supermarine Spitfire.
In Luftkampfgegner wurden Freunde ("Air combat opponents became friends"), Horst Schopis wrote in his memoirs:
As it was getting dark Captain Partridge suggested that the Germans stay in the hut. The two British officers left and found a small chalet, which turned out to be the Grotli Hotel, which was closed for the winter. The German crew arrived the next morning and shared breakfast. It was agreed that the Captain R. T. Partridge and the German Karl-Heinz Strunk would try to locate other people. They met a Norwegian ski patrol. Strunk shouted out "Ingleesh". The Norwegian patrol fired a warning shot at which Partridge fell to the ground and Strunk placed his hands on his head. Lieutenant Bostock emerged from the hotel, suspecting that the German had shot Partridge, but instead saw Strunk apparently reaching for his pistol. One of the Norwegians, seeing this, shot him.
The two Germans survivors—Hauptmann Schopis and mechanic Joseph Auchtor—were taken over the mountains to Stryn as prisoners. Later they were sent to Britain and on to a prison camp in Canada, where they remained until 1947. The German tail gunner Hans Hauck was given a memorial stone which still stands near the Grotli Hotel. Strunk was initially buried in Skjåk cemetery, then later transferred to the war cemetery in Trondheim.
The British had some difficulty in convincing the Norwegians of their nationality until they showed the tailor's label on their uniforms and found a half crown British coin. By sheer coincidence the commander of the Norwegian patrol turned out to be a brother-in-law of a friend of Captain Partridge. The two freed British airmen hiked into Ålesund, which was being defended by Royal Marines under heavy Luftwaffe bombing. As the destroyer scheduled to evacuate the British force failed to arrive, they commandeered a car and drove to the port of Åndalsnes, where they were eventually returned to the United Kingdom by HMS Manchester.
Captain Partridge and Lieutenant Bostock took part in the attempt to sink the German battleship Scharnhorst on 13 June 1940. Partridge was shot down near Stallvik in the Trondheimsfjord and captured by German troops. Lieutenant Bostock was killed in another Blackburn Skua on the same raid.
Both the German pilot Horst Schopis and the British pilot R.T. Partridge wrote books about their experiences before, during and after the war, entitled Luftkampfgegner wurden Freunde and Operation Skua. Captain Partridge's original Skua has been recovered from its Norwegian lake landing site and is on display at RNAS Yeovilton.
The main cast for the film include:
- Stig Henrik Hoff as Karl-Heinz Strunk, portraying the same person in real-life
- David Kross as Josef Auchtor, portraying the same person in real-life
- Florian Lukas as Horst Schopis, portraying the same person in real-life
- Lachlan Nieboer as Capt. Charles P. Davenport, portraying the real-life Captain R.T. Partridge
- Rupert Grint as Gunner Robert Smith, portraying the real-life Lieutenant R.S. Bostock
Release and reception
The film had a limited release in select theatres and is available on Netflix. It has a rating of 50% at Rotten Tomatoes. As of 12 October 2014, the film received an approval rating of 7.1 out of 10 at IMDB.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 28 August 2012 in Norway.
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