The Two-Headed Spy
|The Two-Headed Spy|
|Directed by||Andre DeToth|
|Produced by||Bill Kirby|
|Written by||J. Alvin Kugelmass
Michael Wilson (originally credited as "James O'Donnell")
Alfred Levitt (uncredited)
|Music by||Gerard Schurmann|
|Edited by||Raymond Poulton|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|17 November 1958 (UK)
2 March 1959 (US)
The Two-Headed Spy is a 1958 British spy thriller, with elements of film noir ,set in the Second World War, and directed by Andre DeToth. It starred Jack Hawkins, Gia Scala, Erik Schumann and Alexander Knox. The film was based on a story by J. Alvin Kugelmass called Britain's Two-Headed Spy and is notable for having been scripted by blacklisted writers.
The story commences in 1939. Alex Schottland (Jack Hawkins), a general in the German Army, is actually a British agent who was planted in Germany toward the end of the First World War. He is growing weary of being a spy, but is urged to continue by his friend and fellow British agent, Cornaz (Felix Aylmer), who is posing as a watchmaker.
Schottland passes on information that Germany is about to attack Russia. Capt. Reinisch (Erik Schumann), Schottland's suspicious aide, discovers that Schottland has changed his name from Scotland and is of British ancestry. However, his superiors scoff at the possibility that Schottland is a spy. To deflect suspicion, Schottland says that "defeatists" in the high command have been leaking information to the enemy.
Cornaz is arrested after their courier to the British is arrested. Schottland, as a customer at the watchmaker's shop, is summoned to headquarters for questioning. There Schottland is forced to watch impassively as Gestapo officer Müller (Alexander Knox) tortures Cornaz to death in a gruesome scene, in which a fire hose is used to force water into Cornaz's bowels.
Schottland is arrested but soon released because of intervention by a high-ranking Nazi, Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Cornaz's replacement is Lili Geyr (Gia Scala), an attractive pianist. He pretends to be having an affair with Geyr while actually giving her information. That antagonizes Reinisch, who is in love with Geyr. Schottland is ordered to the front, and shoots a corporal who interrupts him broadcasting information to the Allies. Schottland returns to Berlin, and, now unable to transmit important information, has decided to resort to sabotage. He begins to cunningly trick Hitler into making strategic military blunders.
Reinisch kills Geyr as she attempts to escape to the Allies. Schottland kills Reinisch, and subsequently casts suspicion on Müller as a traitor. Schottland is incriminated, and he crosses the lines to be captured by British troops.
- Jack Hawkins as General Alex Schottland
- Gia Scala as Lili Geyr
- Erik Schumann as Lieutenant Reinisch
- Alexander Knox as Gestapo Leader Müller
- Felix Aylmer as Cornaz
- Walter Hudd as Admiral Canaris
- Edward Underdown as Kaltenbrunner
- Laurence Naismith as General Hauser
- Geoffrey Bayldon as Dietz
- Kenneth Griffith as Adolf Hitler
- Michael Caine as Gestapo Agent
- Martin Benson as General Wagner
- Ronald Hines as German Corporal
- Donald Pleasence as General Hardt
- Martin Boddey as General Optiz
- Victor Woolf as Secondhand Shop Owner
Lt. Col. Alexander Scotland OBE served as technical advisor to the film. Although the movie was ostensibly based on a true story, and Scotland was known as "Schottland" during his service with German forces in Africa at the turn of the century, the movie was not based on Scotland's experiences. He served during the war as commandant of "The London Cage," an MI19 facility that interrogated captured Germans.
Michael Caine appears in a bit part as a Gestapo officer, and Donald Pleasence plays a German general. Screenwriters Michael Wilson and Alfred Levitt were not given credit because of the blacklist. The credit instead was given to James O'Donnell. Their credits were restored in 1999. Dalton Trumbo, also blacklisted, was a story consultant.
- "The Two-Headed Spy". TCM.com. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- Scotland, A.P. (1957). The London Cage. London, UK: Evans Brothers, Ltd.
- West, Nigel ed. (1995) The Guy Liddell Diaries: Mi5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II
- Peter Hanson, Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel: A Critical Survey and Filmography, McFarland, 2001. p. 219
- The Two Headed Spy proifle, imdb.com; accessed November 1, 2016.