Of all the fantastic stories to come out of World War II the use by British Naval Intelligence of a corpse to deceive the Germans about the planned invasion of Sicily undoubtedly out-fictions fiction.
The role of Montagu, the ‘master planner’, is distinctly offbeat for Clifton Webb and, on the whole, he handles it competently.
The star of this show is the corpse which, dressed up as a British marine major, is allowed to float ashore on the coast of Spain. It carries confidential letters with references to the forthcoming invasion of Greece, a ruse which actually fooled the Germans and saved many Allied lives.
Wisely realizing that this painstaking process, however unusual, lacks action and is bound to become tedious after a while, scripter Nigel Balchin (adapting the novel by Ewen Montagu) has introduced the figure of a young Irishman sent to London by the Germans to check on the identity of Major Martin. Gloria Grahame, assigned to be the girlfriend of ‘Major Martin’, seems an unhappy choice for the part, and she overplays it badly. By contrast, Josephine Griffin, a British newcomer, is completely believable.