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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Military (and other) History => Topic started by: mirth on March 23, 2013, 10:48:43 AM

Title: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: mirth on March 23, 2013, 10:48:43 AM
Never knew this about Sir Christopher. Among other things he was an intelligence officer with the Long Range Desert Group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Lee#Service_in_World_War_II
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Staggerwing on March 23, 2013, 11:03:33 AM
Cool find Mirth!

The LRDG'rs were some tough hombres. Their leader even invented a new kind of compass to let them navigate on patrols because they went so deep into the iron-rich desert that regular compasses were often faulty. They also had to make their own maps since the Libyan Desert was basically Terra Ignota back then.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: mirth on March 23, 2013, 12:40:45 PM
Dracula, Saruman and a real-life badass!
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: LongBlade on March 23, 2013, 02:38:27 PM
Dracula, Saruman and a real-life badass!

Indeed.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: LongBlade on March 23, 2013, 02:39:25 PM
From the link:

Quote
He has mentioned serving in Special Operations Executive[14] but has always declined to go into details.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Longdan on March 23, 2013, 03:21:00 PM
He starred in a '50's British war movie "Cockleshell Heroes" and I saw him comment on TV afterward that he thought it might
be the only case where someone who had been involved in the operation was in the movie dramatisation as well.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: LongBlade on March 23, 2013, 03:32:06 PM
Thanks, Dan. Cool info.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Staggerwing on March 23, 2013, 03:56:38 PM
He starred in a '50's British war movie "Cockleshell Heroes" and I saw him comment on TV afterward that he thought it might
be the only case where someone who had been involved in the operation was in the movie dramatisation as well.

I caught part of that movie many years ago. Jose Ferrer was in it as well.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Longdan on March 23, 2013, 04:07:31 PM
I saw it when I was a little commie and I did not know who the tall guy was, being too young for Dracula movies.  The TV interview about it was many years later.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Martok on March 24, 2013, 03:44:10 PM
From the link:

Quote
He has mentioned serving in Special Operations Executive[14] but has always declined to go into details.

I remember reading of a supposed anecdote where someone (I want to say a LotR fan, but don't quote me on that) was pressing Lee to talk a little about what he did during WW2. 

Lee asked the fan if he could keep a secret.  When the guy said that he could, Lee replied, "So can I." 

Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: LongBlade on March 24, 2013, 04:43:35 PM
From the link:

Quote
He has mentioned serving in Special Operations Executive[14] but has always declined to go into details.

I remember reading of a supposed anecdote where someone (I want to say a LotR fan, but don't quote me on that) was pressing Lee to talk a little about what he did during WW2. 

Lee asked the fan if he could keep a secret.  When the guy said that he could, Lee replied, "So can I."

Ha! I would expect nothing less. Too bad they won't lift the classified ban. It would be great to hear his stories.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Mr. Bigglesworth on March 25, 2013, 02:53:32 AM
Maybe this explains his comfort with the topic in "Triage". He really looked natural discussing the ugliness of war. To me it was a great performance.

In the second series of "24" Elisha Cuthbert goes from running around chest heaving prettily to looking after a girl. She is really not a very good actress, not horrible, just not good. When she is taking care of the kid she loses herself in it. I was thinking aww she is so sweet, she is going to be a great mom. Sometimes the role goes away to reveal the person.

When you see someone doing something they are very good at you just know.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: undercovergeek on March 25, 2013, 04:51:06 AM
He starred in a '50's British war movie "Cockleshell Heroes" and I saw him comment on TV afterward that he thought it might
be the only case where someone who had been involved in the operation was in the movie dramatisation as well.

longest day - wasnt one of the actors in the longest day involved in the pegasus bridge landings?
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: steve58 on April 04, 2013, 07:16:14 AM
^It appears so (if Wikipedia is correct).  Richard Todd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Todd).

Quote
On 6 June 1944, as a captain, he participated in the British Airborne Operation Tonga during the D-Day landings.[4] Todd was among the first British officers to land in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. His battalion were reinforcements that parachuted in after glider forces had landed and completed the main assault against Pegasus Bridge near Caen.[4] He later met up with Major John Howard on Pegasus Bridge and helped repel several German counter attacks.[5]

As an actor, Todd would later play Howard in the 1962 film The Longest Day, while Todd himself was played by another actor.
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: bayonetbrant on January 02, 2015, 07:23:43 PM
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/6279_877768775587769_8494439012645116145_n.jpg?oh=c76bcd7b730bd27f1985c12e1423fa5a&oe=552648DF&__gda__=1428683399_8b26786796c9bba05c752cb395eeefba)
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: Martok on January 04, 2015, 10:44:50 PM
Yep.  Certified badass. 
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: mirth on January 05, 2015, 10:31:38 AM
(http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fs2.quickmeme.com%2Fimg%2F6e%2F6e39e91b58f38196f9b09ded5c33951a8fa6a5b1e2c5f1774d732f74a40b6aa7.jpg&ei=WMqqVM7FAomzyAS40IGgAw&psig=AFQjCNHO4H9Mjh1fPs-3o_cDr2sGAnC-lQ&ust=1420565464347260)
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: JasonPratt on January 14, 2015, 07:19:08 AM
Bond fans have long known he used to work with Ian Fleming in the wartime secret service doing late-war espionage missions to recover Nazi super-science tech before the Russians could get it.

In other words, he was part of the direct inspiration for James Bond. So it was a real coup when he was able to play Scaramanga: essentially the 'real' James Bond vs the 'cinema' James Bond. (The novel, which isn't much like the movie, or rather vice versa of course, would have made that even more interesting, so I've read in a series of articles comparing the films with the books back around when Skyfall was on the way.)

Imagine if the Broccolis had embraced the fan theory that "JB" was a code name for subsequent operatives based on a WW2 agent, and had gotten Lee to play the 'original' JB for a movie's plot. :)

(Also, he was the only person on PJ's LotR production who had actually met Tolkien.)
Title: Re: Christopher Lee's Military Service
Post by: JasonPratt on January 14, 2015, 07:37:56 AM
longest day - wasnt one of the actors in the longest day involved in the pegasus bridge landings?

The same thing happened even more importantly and ironically in Attenborough's A Bridge Too Far. Dirk Bogarde who plays General Browning, was part of Browning's staff in real life and ended up having to fight some of the armor the General felt pressured into denying or minimizing the existence of. The actor's opinion of the General was much higher than the story portrayed him, and he balked at the overly negative film portrayal, doing his best to soften the cuts. (In real life, Browning reportedly told Monty the "bridge too far" line before the battle, trying to warn him; the film presents him trying to save face at the end by replying to Monty's claim of 90% success with the line "Well, I always felt we were trying to go a bridge too far." That change encapsulates a lot of the problems Bogarde, and Browning's widow for that matter, thought the script saddled Browning with.)