Garbo: The Spy

Garbo: The Spy

A scene from GARBO: THE SPY, a film by Edmon Roch. All rights reserved.

Garbo: The Spy (2009/2010)

Also Known As: Garbo, the Man Who Saved the World, Garbo: El Espia

Opened: 11/18/2011 Limited

Village East07/23/2010 - 07/29/20107 days
Sunset 5/LA09/03/2010 - 09/09/20107 days
Quad Cinema/NYC11/18/2011 - 12/01/201114 days
Music Hall 311/25/2011 - 12/01/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Spanish Documentary

Rated: Unrated


This is the story about "the greatest actor in the world". On the stage that is life he made his unique contribution to the good of mankind.

He went by many names, yet never existed.

He lived many lives, yet only one was real.

In the darkest time in the history of humanity he perpetrated the greatest fraud of the Second World War -fooling the German High Command into believing that the Normandy landings were just a diversionary feint, and that the real invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais.

Self-made farm manager and later hotSelf-made farm manager and later hotel concierge, he had offered his services to the British to "help them out" -but his naïve plan had failed. Far from being discouraged, he turned to the Germans and managed to convince them that he could spy for the Nazi cause. Surprisingly, they took him on.

To the Nazis he was Codename: Alaric.

To the British he was simply Garbo.

To the world he was a mystery.

But 30 years after the facts and fiction, the cloak of mystery that kept him hidden and tied to Alaric and Garbo finally started to unravel. Nigel West, noted English Spy novelist, started out on a journey to expose the truth about the man born Juan Pujol and uncovered a story so amazing that it could only be true. The man who the world thought to be dead and buried in Angola in 1949, a man that died a hero to both the British and the Nazis, looked pretty spry when discovered in South America 35 years after his burial.

This is the story of Garbo.

Director's Statement: Why Garbo?

GARBO: THE SPY is a documentary thriller about forgotten and living memories, heroes and spies, secrets and lies, featuring fragments of Hollywood films, archive material, interviews and special effects – extending an invitation to choose our own version of the truth.

All of the major characters in this extraordinary story are present. Novelist and Intelligence expert Nigel West, who tracked down Pujol in Venezuela and brought him out of hiding. MI5 specialist Mark Seaman, who investigated Pujol's every step and how he managed to make the unbelievable believable. Journalist Xavier Vinader, who helped Pujol to deconstruct his memories and recall all of the intriguing details. The Countess of Romanones Aline Griffith, who was a spy during WWII and worked for American Intelligence in Spain. Both of Pujol's families, his first in Spain and later one in Venezuela. And last but not least, Juan Pujol himself, with his own personal take on reality.

There is no better medium than film to illustrate the story of the most important double agent of the 20th Century. Films have shaped our images of Mata Hari, of Charlie Chan and of Operation Cicero. In order to emphasize the most controversial aspects of the story, we juxtapose interviews with newsreels, cartoons, film clips and propaganda material, from both the Allied and the Axis sides. It is through movies like Patton, The Longest Day, Our Man in Havana, Mr. Moto's Last Warning, The Stranger, Pimpernel Smith, Invisible Agent, The Secret Code, British Intelligence, and Greta Garbo's Mata Hari, that we will discover why Pujol was considered "the best actor in the world."