A look at a truly astonishing and iconic war film from the late 1950s and early 1960s


25 March 2022
A look at a truly astonishing and iconic war film from the late 1950s and early 1960s Images

The brainchild of a teenage film enthusiast, Kevin Brownlow, the film was a truly inspirational and innovative piece of work for its team. This was doubly so because of the youth and inexperience of Kevin, who was then joined by another teenager enthused by the project: Andrew Mollo.

Kevin went on to become a leading film historian, while Andrew became one of the world’s leading experts on German uniforms and equipment of the Second World War.

What makes this film so extraordinary is not only the youth and inexperience of its two determined creators, but the fact that it was shot on a shoestring budget, on borrowed cameras and across quite a few years! Nevertheless, the final cut was truly astonishing.

Along the way, Kevin and Andrew managed to secure the backing, and limited financial support, of some ‘big names’ in the film industry to create an epic ‘What if?’ production based on the premise that Germany had successfully invaded and occupied Britain in July 1940.

Filmed in black and white, which adds to its period feel, the acting is first class as is the directing, props, locations etc. The level of authenticity is astonishing and a credit to Andrew Mollo’s eye for detail and his insistence that everything was authentic in terms of equipment, uniforms etc. With a huge army of extras, and even with tanks, half-tracks and equipment loaned by The Tank Museum at Bovington, the end result was a chilling look at how things might have been. In its trailer, the film asks: “What would you do? Collaborate? Accept? Resist?”

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Incredibly, the film went on to appear at international film festivals and was picked up and distributed by United Artists, ultimately being screened at major cinema chains around the world.

Read the truly incredible story of how the film was made after exclusive access to material was given to Iron Cross magazine, along with an interview with Kevin Brownlow. 

Cinema lobby poster
Still of German army band marching along Chester Terrace, London.