The Heroes of Telemark
|The Heroes of Telemark|
|Directed by||Anthony Mann|
|Produced by||Benjamin Fisz|
|Written by||Ben Barzman
|Music by||Malcolm Arnold|
|Edited by||Bert Bates|
|Language||English, German, Norwegian|
|Box office||$1,650,000 (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
The Norwegian resistance sabotage the Vemork Norsk Hydro plant in the town of Rjukan in the county of Telemark, Norway, which the Nazis are using to produce heavy water, which could be used in the manufacture of an Atomic bomb.
Kirk Douglas plays Rolf Pedersen, a Norwegian physics professor, who, though originally content to wait out the war, is soon pulled into the struggle by local resistance leader Knut Straud (based on Knut Haukelid, portrayed by Richard Harris).
They are both smuggled to England to have microfilmed plans of the hydroelectric plant examined, and then return to Norway to plan a commando raid. When a force of Royal Engineers, who were to carry it out, are all killed, Pedersen and Straud lead a small force of saboteurs into the plant. The raid is successful, but the Germans quickly repair the equipment.
Besides this sequence, the raids (Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside) and the final attack are depicted in location filming, in which snowy Norwegian locations serve as a backdrop for the plot.
- Kirk Douglas as Dr Rolf Pedersen
- Richard Harris as Knut Straud
- Ulla Jacobsson as Anna Pedersen
- Michael Redgrave as Uncle
- David Weston as Arne
- Sebastian Breaks as Gunnar
- John Golightly as Freddy
- Alan Howard as Oli
- Patrick Jordan as Henrik
- William Marlowe as Claus
- Brook Williams as Einar
- Roy Dotrice as Jensen
- Anton Diffring as Maj. Frick
- Ralph Michael as Nilssen
- Eric Porter as Reichskommissar Josef Terboven
- Wolf Frees as Sturmbannfuhrer Knippelberg
- Karel Stepanek as Prof. Hartmuller
- Gerard Heinz as Prof. Erhardt
- Victor Beaumont as German Sergeant
- George Murcell as Scharfuhrer
- Mervyn Johns as Col. Wilkinson
- Barry Jones as Prof. Roderick Logan
- Geoffrey Keen as General Bolt
- Robert Ayres as General Courts
- Jennifer Hilary as Sigrid
- Maurice Denham as Doctor
The film was amongst the 15 most popular movies at the British box office in 1966.
Ray Mears made a documentary called The Real Heroes of Telemark. Despite mainly sticking to the factual evidence, some scenes in the documentary, like the film, were partly dramatised, focusing more on the survival skills involved in the operation.
The same story was also covered in the 1948 Franco-Norwegian film Kampen om tungtvannet (La bataille de l'eau lourde — "The battle for heavy water"). Quite faithful to the real events, it even had many of the original Norwegian commandos starring as themselves.
In 2015 the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation showed a TV series called Kampen om tungtvannet based on the events.
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
- "Most popular star for third time." Times [London, England] 31 Dec. 1966: 5. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
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