The War Magician (Full Version)

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Timon -> The War Magician (15/11/2005 5:29:47 PM)

I saw a documentary based on this guy a few years back on Channel 4.

Basically, the War Magican was a British stage magician called Jasper Maskelyne who helped defeat Rommell and the Nazi war machine in the desert campaign using visual illusions and tricks.

Peter Weir (Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society) was tipped to direct and The Cruiser poised to star, but it appears both have withdrawn. Apparantly Peter Weir is working on "Pattern Recognition", a sci-fi movie based on the novel by William Gibson.

Here is some background story about the guy....not sure who's handling the project now. This is an OLD article but it has interesting info on Maskelyne.
THE unsung hero who moved Alexandria, hid the Suez Canal and created armies out of thin air will be honoured by Hollywood.

The amazing story of Jasper Maskelyne is to be told in a film starring Tom Cruise.  Many studios have been considering filming The War Magician, David Fisher's 1983 book about his exploits.

Maskelyne's ability to 'magic' armies and battleships out of thin air and create diversions with smoke and mirrors saved thousands of lives in the Second World War.

 Maskelyne, grandson of magician and typewriter-inventor John Nevil Maskelyne, amazed music hall audiences with his illusions. When war broke out, he decided to mobilise the world of magic against Hitler.
Army chief Lord Gort was sceptical, until Maskelyne made a German warship appear in the Thames, using mirrors and a scale model. He was put in charge of the Royal Engineers Camouflage Corps and, with a team of designers, known as the Magic Gang, was sent to Egypt.

 Soon, he was asked for ways of protecting the Suez Canal from German bombs.
He took his inspiration from the searchlights at anti-aircraft batteries along the 100-mile waterway. If enough searchlights were installed along the canal, Maskelyne thought, a curtain of bright illumination could be created. German airmen trying to see through that intense light would find it impossible to see the canal in their sights.

Searchlights were in short supply, so Maskelyne and his gang magnified the power of each light by attaching tin reflectors and then - with the aid of the Royal Engineers - altered the lights so that they would spin, creating dazzling cartwheels of light.

A chain of 21 of these searchlights was put along the length of the canal and despite the Luftwaffe's many missions, the canal remained hidden.

Maskelyne's finest hour came in 1942, when he was told to convince Field Marshal Erwin Rommel that the Eighth Army was in the south of the Egyptian desert and that an attack would begin there, rather than the north.

 A brass hat hold him: 'You must conceal 150,000 men with 1,000 guns and tanks and the Germans must not know anything about it. You can't do it, of course, but you've bloody well got to.'

Dummy tanks were made and model men created to depict a huge encampment in the south. The Allies also knew Alexandria harbour was a strategic target for the Luftwaffe bombers and wanted Maskelyne to hide it. Instead he built a duplicate harbour three miles away. The Nazis obligingly bombed it.

Despite his remarkable feats, magic shows went abruptly out of fashion after the war and Maskelyne moved to Kenya to be a farmer. He died there, aged 71.

Timon -> RE: The War Magician (17/4/2009 4:38:26 PM)

I suggested this for the biopic thread completely forgetting that years ago there was a proposed film! Oh, I hope it's made, I'd still love to see a modern day made film about the African campaign and this would put an unusual twist on the story.

elab49 -> RE: The War Magician (17/4/2009 6:34:20 PM)

Perhaps this is part of the problem - presenting someone's fiction as a fiction presented as if it is real?

I'll bet Susannah Clarke saw the same documentary as you, though [:)]

Timon -> RE: The War Magician (2/2/2012 3:59:14 PM)

Apparently Marc Foster wants to direct

daviddashby -> RE: The War Magician (7/2/2012 12:18:27 AM)
This is such a great movie,A patriotic British man who happen to be a magician who help the Nazis.Well,this was like an old epic film but behind that I found the story and the film great.:)

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