Triple Cross (1966 film)

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Triple Cross
Howard triple cross shop dvd.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Terence Young
Produced by Jacques-Paul Bertrand
Written by Frank Owen (book)
René Hardy
William Marchant (additional dialogue)
Starring Christopher Plummer
Music by Georges Garvarentz
Cineurop Company
Distributed by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Release dates
9 December 1966 (France)
19 July 1967 (US)
Running time
126 min. (US)
140 min. (UK)
Country France
United Kingdom

Triple Cross is a 1966 Anglo-French co-produced film directed by Terence Young and produced by Jacques-Paul Bertrand. It was based loosely on the real life story of Eddie Chapman, believed by the Nazis to be their top spy in Great Britain whilst in fact he was an MI5 double agent known as "Zigzag". The film was released in France in December 1966 as La Fantastique histoire vraie d'Eddie Chapman but elsewhere in Europe and the US in 1967 as Terence Young's Triple Cross. The title comes from Chapman's signature to mark he was freely transmitting by radio, a Morse code XXX.

This is the second pairing of Terence Young and actress Claudine Auger. She was the leading James Bond girl in Thunderball (1965) which Young also directed.

The screenplay was written by William Marchant and René Hardy.

In his autobiography, Christopher Plummer said that Chapman was to have been a technical adviser on the film but the French authorities would not allow him in the country because he was still wanted over an alleged plot to kidnap the Sultan of Morocco.[1]


The film opens with an explosion as safecracker Eddie Chapman (Plummer) blows open a wall safe. Outside, a car is backfiring repeatedly and a marching band is passing by. Chapman casually removes some jewels from the safe and examines them for the choicest items. He leaves a card in the safe complimenting its owners for being victims of the Gelignite Gang. The gang pulls off a series of heists before they go on the lam. Chapman is caught in Jersey and imprisoned there. After 8 months, he sees German soldiers landing outside the prison and demands to see their commandant.

He offers to work as a spy for the Germans who are deeply skeptical of his motives. They eventually fake his execution and smuggle him into occupied France where he is trained for two months. Eventually, he is dropped back in England, and he goes straight to the police. He shows him his identity card and several of the radio frequencies that the Germans were using. The British believe Eddie Chapman was executed in Jersey, but since some of the frequencies are known to them already as German, they reluctantly negotiate with Chapman. In return for working as a double agent, he demands a full pardon for his crimes and five thousand pounds, as well as a war commendation.

The Germans radio a message ordering Chapman to blow up Vickers. The British let him demolish part of the factory to convince the Germans that Chapman's cover hasn't been blown. He is sent back to Germany and he manages to return to London for the end of the war.

Another meaning of the title, "Triple Cross," becomes clear in the final scene of the film. Chapman, sitting at a bar, is asked who he was really working for. In reply, he raises his glass in salute to his reflection in the mirror.



  1. ^ Plummer, Christopher In Spite of Myself: A Memoir 2008 Knopf

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