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Operation Annie (1946)

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In 1946, with Hitchcock's contact with David O. Selznick coming to an end and preparations for Transatlantic Pictures gaining momentum, "Operation Annie" was just one of a number of potential projects considered for Transatlantic.

It seems likely that Hitchcock read about the story in an article written by Hans H. Burger which appeared in the 17th February edition of the New York Times, or possibly in an article which was printed a week later in TIME[1].

The Film Bulletin reported on 18th March 1946:

David O. Selznick has set Alfred Hitchcock for the directorial assignment on "The Paradine Case" in which Laurence Olivier will be starred. Olivier arrives here from England shortly. No other casting yet and no starting date announced. Meanwhile, Hitchcock has bought the rights to "Operation Annie," which he plans to make in his new independent set-up (everybody definitely "wants to get into this act!"). This is the story by Major Patrick Dolan of the secret work of Radio Luxembourg during the war. It has already had wide publicity and should make typical Hitchcock fare.[2]

"Radio Annie" (also known as "1212", the frequency on which it broadcast) was a covert Allied "black propaganda" radio station which began broadcasting in late 1944 from a secret location in Luxembourg and purported to be a pro-German, playing patriotic traditional German songs. Over a period of 127 broadcasts, the station built up a loyal following of both German civilians and soldiers. By early 1945, the Allied forces were advancing on Germany and, under instruction from General Dwight Eisenhower, the radio station began broadcasting false information about Allied positions and implied a major assault into Germany was under way. This had the intended effect of making German civilians flee from their homes, which in turn hampered the retreat of the German army.

According to an article published on the American Radio News web site, "[the radio station] finally signed off by pretending that Allied troops had caught up with the rebel broadcasters. Listeners suddenly heard shouting in English and sounds of a scuffle. The German announcer cried out for someone to play a record. Then Annie's theme song rolled, and abruptly fell silent."

In an-depth article about "Operation Annie" was published in the Saturday Evening Post (09/Mar/1946).

See Also...


Notes & References

  1. TIME (1946) - Operation Annie
  2. Film Bulletin (18/Mar/1946) - Studio Size-Ups: United Artists