Night Ambush (aka Ill Met by Moonlight) (1957): Powell and Pressburger’s Fact-Inspired Chronicle

TCM showed the movie on Sep 26, 2020.

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger directed the fact-inspired Ill Met by Moonlight (1957), also known as Night Ambush, their last feature made together through their production company, “The Archers.”

Ill Met by Moonlight
(Night Ambush)

theatrical poster

The film is based on the 1950 book “Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe,” by W. Stanley Moss, an account of the author’s service on Crete during World War II as an agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

It stars Dirk Bogarde and features Marius Goring, David Oxley, and Cyril Cusack,

The title is a quotation from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Marius Goring had appeared in 3 other Powell and Pressburger films: The Spy in Black (1939), A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and The Red Shoes (1948). Goring replaced Curt Jürgens, who was the original choice to play the part of General Kreipe.

It was the seventh most popular movie at the British box office in 1957.

Dirk Bogarde as Major Patrick “Paddy” Leigh Fermor aka “Philedem”
Marius Goring as Major General Heinrich Kreipe
David Oxley as Captain W. Stanley “Billy” Moss, M.C.
Dimitri Andreas as Niko Soldan Emeris
Cyril Cusack as Captain Sandy Rendel
Laurence Payne as Manoli
Wolfe Morris as George
Michael Gough as Andoni Zoidaki


Produced, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Music by Mikis Theodorakis
Cinematography Christopher Challis
Edited by Arthur Stevens

Production company: The Archers

Distributed by The Rank Organization

Release date: March 4, 1957 (UK); July 1958 (US)

Running time: 104 minutes; 93 minutes (US version)