‘Operation Mincemeat’ on Netflix: The real story behind Colin Firth’s film

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‘Operation Mincemeat’, which is available now on Netflix, features one of the British Army’s greatest stunts during World War II. In the film, Colin Firth disguises himself as a corpse to fool the Germans.

Here’s what really happened.

In 1943, Ewen Montagu, who is played by Firth, and the British Army diverted the German army from invading Sicily with a corpse to be found for the German forces. On the corpse were documents for the Nazis to find, suggesting that there had been an invasion of Greece and Sardinia.

Colin Firth attends the "Ground Meat Operation" UK premiere at Curzon Mayfair on April 12, 2022 in London, England.
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Colin Firth attends the UK Premiere of ‘Operation Mincemeat’ at Curzon Mayfair on April 12, 2022 in London, England.
(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Warner Bros)

Two British officers carried out this plan, Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley, who is played by Matthew Macfadyen. The two men recovered the body of a dead homeless man and gave him a new identity, Captain William Martin. The homeless man had died of rat poisoning.

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The British army then released the body on the southern coast of Spain, and it was discovered by a fisherman. Before the men at sea returned the body and documents to the British, they informed the Germans.

Later decryptions of the German messages proved that the British Army’s plan worked. German forces went to Greece instead of Sicily, which led to a successful invasion.

Author Ben Macintyre wrote “Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II”, on which the Netflix movie is based. Macintyre has been candid in the past about how this film is a portrayal of what really happened during World War II.

(LR) Thelma Adams, John Madden, Colin Firth, Michelle Ashford and Thomas Newman speak on stage during Netflix "Ground Meat Operation" special session in Paris in May.

(L-R) Thelma Adams, John Madden, Colin Firth, Michelle Ashford and Thomas Newman talk onstage during Netflix’s ‘Operation Mincemeat’ special screening in Paris in May.
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Netflix)

“It wasn’t until MI5 started to declassify its files that you were able to really start telling true stories about a subject that has been so deeply mystified and romanticized,” he said in the interview. press notes.

“And so I started looking into the MI5 files, and they’re really the most extraordinary cornucopia of detail because they’re written by and for people who didn’t expect them to be made public. They were always meant to be kept secret. And so they are honest in a way that most official files are not. Most people who know this material is going to come out someday try to ‘shade slightly. They try to cover up slightly or make themselves look better or other people look worse. Not in these files. These are absolutely authentic accounts of what is happening.

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The homeless man given a new identity is who some believe to be Glyndwr Michael. It was never officially confirmed who the corpse was, and Montagu declined to identify the person in his own book, “The Man Who Never Was: The Remarkable Story of Operation Mincemeat.”

Kelly Macdonald attends the UK premiere of  "Ground Meat Operation" at the Curzon Mayfair in April.

Kelly Macdonald attends the UK premiere of ‘Operation Mincemeat’ at Curzon Mayfair in April.
(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

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Alongside Firth, the Netflix film stars Kelly Macdonald, Lorne MacFadyen, Matthew Macfayden and Paul Ritter.

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