Franco flag flies over city hall as Malaga time travels back to wartime

The flag from Franco's regime set the scene for the film.
The flag from Franco's regime set the scene for the film. / SUR
  • The historic council building was the setting for scenes shot for the upcoming film Operation Mincemeat, set in 1943

The old Spanish flag from General Franco's dictatorship flew outside Malaga city hall last Sunday as British director John Madden shot part of his latest film project, Operation Mincemeat.

The Local Police were the most useful allied forces for the director of the World War Two-era film, cordoning off the Paseo del Parque and the roads surrounding the historic building. Instead of the usual traffic, there was a constant stream of 1940s vehicles (to the delight of passing fans of vintage cars) flowing under the Franco-era ensign.

Madden, who directed Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love, could be seen taking various shots of a man dressed as an official walking into city hall.

The scenes were all carefully choreographed with dozens of vehicles and extras walking by. During one take, the man crossed the street in uniform carrying a mysterious briefcase.

After several takes outside city hall, the satisfied film crew moved on to the pavement and inside the entrance to film the mysterious official in more detail.

The script of the wartime drama, Operation Mincemeat, is based on a real-life secret operation that took place in 1943. British intelligence services managed to wrongfoot Hitler by faking the death of a Royal Marine carrying incorrect information about the planned Allied invasion of Southern Europe. The Germans fell for the trap, wrongly believing the Allies would launch the attack via Greece rather than Sicily.

The supposed Marine was in fact a homeless man who was already dead. His body was dropped into the sea off Andalucía to be found near Huelva by a fisherman. The Spanish authorities then passed the fake information he carried to the Germans.

Colin Firth and Kelly MacDonald have leading roles. A release date has not been set.