190. Operation Daybreak (GB/Czechoslovakia 1976)

3 Czech patriots assassinate Reinhard Heydrich and are hunted down

director: Lewis Gilbert

writer: Ronald Harwood

starring: Timothy Bottoms, Martin Shaw, Anthony Andrews, Joss Ackland

bit part: Diana Coupland (Sid James's wife in the truly ghastly 'Bless This House')

fact: Heydrich is played by the sinister, yet urbane German actor Anton Diffring, yet the real Heydrich was monumentally ugly even by Nazi top brass standards. Imagine* Liverpool FC 1970s 'supersub' David Fairclough in a German uniform and you're halfway there.

fact 2: Many people have suggested that actor Timothy Bottoms was 'brave' for not changing his family name to something less 'suggestive'. Nothing could be further from the truth. His actual name is Timothy Arses.

A workman-like film in many respects, but with lots of good bits. Andrews, Shaw and Bottoms play the three Czech soldiers, who, having been trained by British special forces, are parachuted back into Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to kill Heydrich, the Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.

The three men contact the Czech resistance (fortuitously one of them looks like Nicola Pagett) and after a failed assassination attempt, plan to shoot Heydrich at close range on the streets of Prague.

                   Terry McDermott

Andrews and Bottoms (eventually) kill Heydrich, but are betrayed by the actor Martin Shaw and are hunted down by the SS.

One of the saddest endings of any film, but (obviously) as nothing compared to the real life events.


*For those with no imagination: