So Clever Are German Spies in Their Disguises... (1914) | BFI




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Published on 7 Feb 2008

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Nuns at bayonet point... almost. It was often the case with newsreel items that it took longer to read the title than it did to see the film. The title writers would use every possible means to attract an audience to even the dullest footage. Here, a horse and cart, carrying two nuns, is stopped by two men with fixed bayonets; their papers are examined, and they are allowed to proceed.

Clearly the title refers to that old propaganda story used by the press in both World Wars that German soldiers would disguise themselves as nuns. However, the footage is a mystery - these are clearly just nuns, and there is nothing to suggest they are under suspicion of being Germans in drag.

The assumption is that this was filmed in France during the early stages of the Great War. But was it? We may never know. (Bryony Dixon)

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