Operation Secret
Operation Secret poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLewis Seiler
Written byHarold Medford
James R. Webb
Produced byHenry Blanke
StarringCornel Wilde
Steve Cochran
Phyllis Thaxter
Karl Malden
Paul Picerni
Lester Matthews
CinematographyTed D. McCord
Edited byClarence Kolster
Music byRoy Webb
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 8, 1952 (1952-11-08)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States

Operation Secret is a 1952 American drama film directed by Lewis Seiler and written by Harold Medford and James R. Webb. The film stars Cornel Wilde, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Karl Malden, Paul Picerni and Lester Matthews. The film was released by Warner Bros. on November 8, 1952.[1][2] The film is based on the exploits of US Marine Corps Major Peter Ortiz.[3]


Peter Forrester (Wilde) is a U.S. Marine fluent in French and German, who has served in the French Foreign Legion. He is working undercover in German-occupied France during World War II. After the war, he stands accused of the murder of a Maquis officer at a hearing of the French secret police. Much of the film is told in flashback. One of his accusers, a Communist, is the actual culprit.[2][4]


Critical reception

New York Times critic Bosley Crowther said the film "spins its story vigorously but with little impact. This dissipation of potential tension may be attributed to the fact that the self-effacing bravery displayed here has been in evidence on film before, and with greater effect." Crowther said that even though it was based on fact, "this annal of dedicated men braving dangerous assignments appears to be largely hackneyed deeds out of an old and not too thrilling history."[2]

A New York Daily News critic observed that earlier films about the underground in Europe had presented all the fighters as "heroes and patriots." but that "now, apparently, it can be told that some of the leaders of resistance movements were fighting first for Russia and only incidentally for their native lands." She praised Wilde for an "effective performance."[4]


  1. ^ "Operation Secret (1952) - Overview". TCM.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  2. ^ a b c Crowther, Bosley (6 November 1952). "Operation Secret' Opens at Paramount". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Colonel Peter Julien Ortiz: OSS Marine, Actor, Californian".
  4. ^ a b Cameron, Kate (6 November 1952). "'Operation Secret' A Suspenseful Film". Daily News. p. 76. Retrieved 12 December 2020 – via Newspapers.com.