Actors playing THEMSELVES in war films...

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by phylo_roadking, Jan 22, 2009.

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  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Watching Ill Met By Moonlight again tonight, and just having read Phylida Houseman's recollections of the making of the film, something came to me...

    In the film, the S.O.E. British Liaison Officer Johnny Houseman who's part of the party on Crete that welcomes Billy Moss to the island is played by her husband...Johnny Houseman! 8O 8O 8O

    (She herself later appears briefly as "Mihali's sister" in the glendi scene)

    Yes, an ACTUAL S.O.E. BLO present during events in 1944 played HIMSELF!!!

    The production was actually quite a reunion; Xan Fielding, Senior BLO for a time and author of "The Stronghold" and "Hide And Seek" about his time on Crete was a technical adviser, as was Mickey Akoumianakis...and later in the filming Paddy Fermor turned up for a couple of days!

    Are there any other instances in the cinema or television of this happening??? And NOT in a documentary appearance...

    I know Richard Todd came close - he was originally approached to play himself in The Longest Day but refused, and instead played Johnny Frost.
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Phylo -
    Richard Todd played Major Howard who held the bridge until Lord Lovatt arrived

    Cheers
     
  3. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Didn't piper Bill Millin play himself in the longest day?
     
  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Didn't Audie Murphy play himself in a bio-pic?
     
  6. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

  7. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Longest Day

    Red Button the guy on the church tower St Mere Eglise also was a paratrooper
     
  8. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Didn't Audie Murphy play himself in a bio-pic?


    I believe it was the film 'To Hell And Back'

    To Hell and Back (1955)
     
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I believe it was the film 'To Hell And Back'

    To Hell and Back (1955)

    Thanks for that Peter, must have last seen that film in the late 70s ... oh dear, moving on...

    Ray Mears' prog The Real Heroes of Telemark, showed clips of a film made with the originals playing themselves, may have been a documentary though, can't remember for sure.

    D
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Miss D,

    They did indeed play themselves it was a Norwegian 'feel good' movies made shortly after the war :)

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  11. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    And ofcourse a number of men in Their is the Glory, one of them being Freddy Gough
     
    ww2ni likes this.
  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Thanks for that Peter, must have last seen that film in the late 70s ... oh dear, moving on...

    Ray Mears' prog The Real Heroes of Telemark, showed clips of a film made with the originals playing themselves, may have been a documentary though, can't remember for sure.

    D

    What a man. His autobiography makes for good reading.

    Regards
    Tom
     

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  13. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    According to the IMDB trivia for The Longest Day, the makers considered having Eisenhower play himself but decided that he couldn't be made up to look young enough. They weren't so bothered about age when they cast 54 year old John Wayne as Col. Vandervoort, who was 27.

    The IMDB also says that Richard Todd refused to play himself in the film as his own role in D-Day was too small a part for that stage of his acting career. Joseph Lowe, who had a very small part as a Ranger, climbed Pointe de Hoc on 6/6/44 and again in the film.

    The Longest Day (1962) - Trivia

    One man who didn't play himself but did repeat on screen a real event in which he participated was Esmond Knight. In 1941 he was an officer on HMS Prince of Wales in the action with the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. A shell stuck Prince of Wales' bridge, blinding Knight and killing most of the others present, apart from Captain Leach. Knight recovered partial sight and resumed his acting career after the war; he played Captain Leach in Sink the Bismarck, which featured the hit on Prince of Wales' bridge.

    A film about the Battle of Mons was made after WWI. A lot of the men in it were veterans and General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien played himself. In the absence of genuine archive footage it often gets shown as part of documentaries on 1914.
     
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Marcus -

    Piper Bill Millin did NOT play himself in "The Longest day" - that was Pipe Major Leslie de Laspee

    Cheers
     
  15. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Cheers Tom.

    I thought I'd read it somewhere. Must have mixed it up with something else.
     
  16. Stig O'Tracy

    Stig O'Tracy Senior Member

    Although not actually playing himself, it's my understanding that the fellow who played Cpl. Louis LeBeau (Robert Clary) in Hogans Heroes was actually held for 3 years in a German concentration camp. His camp number, A5714, was tattooed on his left forearm.
     
  17. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    In an interview, Richard Todd said that in one scene towards the end, He (as Major Howard) addresses a young paratroop officer who is supposed to be Richard Todd.
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There was a lot of the originals employed as advisers on the set of The Longest Day. Maj Howard Ret. and Lord Lovat to name two.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  19. Stig O'Tracy

    Stig O'Tracy Senior Member

    Robert Montgomery (father of actress Elizabeth Montgomery) served as a PT boat commander in Panama and also the Pacific in Guadalacanal and the the Marshall Islands. In 1945 he starred as PT boat commander John Brickley in They Were Expendable .
     
  20. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    Not somebody who played himself but a man taking part in a story with great significance for his family is Phillip von Schulthess, Claus von Stauffenberg's grandson, who has a small part in Valkyrie, the story of the July 20 1944 bomb plot. Nina von Stauffenberg was pregnant was von Schultess's mother at the time of her husband's death. Von Schulthess is billed as 'Tresckow's Aide', which is presumably meant to be Fabian von Schlabrendorff but he has only a couple of scenes and isn't given a name in the film.
     

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