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Ill Met by Moonlight U rating

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film of the daring WII raid to capture a German commander, with Dirk Bogarde and Marius Goring.

War 1957 100 mins

Director: Michael Powell


British agents in WWII Crete, led by Major Patrick Leigh-Fermor (Dirk Bogarde) hatch a daring plan to capture the Commander of the island's occupying German forces (Marius Goring). Despite its romantic, Shakespearean title Ill Met By Moonlight finds Powell and Pressburger in the stirring combat mode of their wartime films, such as 49th Parallel.

Following the lush Technicolor of their previous war film, The Battle of the River Plate, the film marked a return to black and white for the Archers. Both films were the result of a return to the Rank Organisation, where they’d produced their most famous films but from which they left under a cloud in 1949. Upon being persuaded to return, Michael Powell delighted in tormenting studio chief John Davis with ambitious requests to cast top leading men such as Orson Welles, only to eventually settle for Rank’s contract star Dirk Bogarde. Powell apparently felt Bogarde was too clean-cut for the role, and the production witnessed numerous creative differences between the director and Pressburger, leading to dissolution of their famous partnership. However the pair would reunite for some two final swansongs.