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Bond writer's lover gets film

ChristineGranville.jpgIan Fleming's lover Christine Granville, who was herself a spy and apparently the inspiration for the written character of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (Filmstalker review) and possibly for Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love, is to become immortalised in film.

Christine: War My Love is touted as being a big budgeted film with a big star taking the leading role. As yet though, there's no idea how much Ian Fleming will play in her story, a story which is fascinating and sounds like it comes from a Fleming novel.

The film will tell the story of Polish countess Krystyna Skarbek who changed her name to Christine Granville during her time working for Britain’s Special Operations Executive in World War II.

She actually became an agent a few months before the SOE was created and joined them to become the most successful and longest serving British female agents, and she was awarded the OBE, George Medal and the Croix de Guerre.

During her time participating in and organising the fight against the enemy she was involved in many life or death situations, some which do really sound like they are right out of a spy novel. She wasn't a paper pusher, she was out there living a dangerous existence and putting her life on the line for the war effort.

Never mind the lover of Ian Fleming or a being based on a character in one of his novels, her life sounds much more like the female Bond.

While all that is the exciting side of her life, what I hope isn't missed out is how the country who she fought for treated her after the war. When she had given up everything for her new country, they returned the favour with a month's salary and let her go.

She struggled after that, trying to regain the excitement and danger she had running through her life while she was in the war. She went through a series of relationships and even took to the sea as a stewardess. It is around this time that she began a relationship with the Bond writer Ian Fleming.

The danger hadn't left her life however as in 1952, at the age of forty-four, she was stabbed to death by a fellow merchant-marine steward, Dennis Muldowney. Apparently he was obsessing over her after she refused his advances and had been following her and pestering her for some time. He was executed very quickly after the murder and the exact details behind her death have never been properly explained.

It sounds like the story of her life would make for a fascinating one, with or without the Ian Fleming part, and if The Daily Mail are correct it looks like her story is headed for a big budget and highly cast cinema outing.

Debbie McWilliams has been involved in the casting of many of the Bond films both as an assistant and as director, now she's on the lookout for the lead to play Christine Granville in Christine: War My Love. She was the casting director when Eva Green was selected to play Vesper Lynd and there's rumour that she's being eyed for the role of Granville. Also rumoured is Kate Winslet, but then any British role right now she'd be connected with wouldn't she?

Agnieszka Holland is set to direct the film, now while her name might not leap at you, she has been directing some episodes of Cold Case and The Wire of late, both strong television series.

How will this turn out makes for a good guess. More Ms Bond or Charlotte Gray, neither seems attractive to me, and yet the written story is fascinating. There are a number of books about her real life story, and although they aren't credited, perhaps some of the background will come from these and we'll see a more factual, less action or romantic account of her life. (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com)



There are a two errors in the article about Christine Granville. For starters there is no evidence that she was Fleming's inspiration for the character Vesper Lynd. It's an exciting idea but those who pass on this rumour have no idea where it originated. I do, as I have done much research into Christine's life and I know where the rumour originated.
The details of her death are known - you just have to know where to look for them.

Well it's all very well saying that there are errors in the article and that you've researched her life and know the answers, but you don't tell us!

Do note that I've written:

"...apparently the inspiration for the written character...and possibly..."

What are the answers then? Why don't you put them right and let us know?

Those creating the story will be using these stories though for writing their script, because it's an exciting story.

I'm guessing that your research of your truth will not be so exciting and so wouldn't make such an exciting and interesting film, and so the screenwriters will probably concentrate on this more than anything else.

Remember it will come with the tag "inspired by a true story", they always do.

The details of Christine's death, with witness statements and reports by investigating detectives can be found at the British National Archives.
I have recently completed a biography of Christine, therefore I am reluctant to reveal all my sources until I have secured a publisher's contract.
I am sceptical of the affair between Fleming and Christine for several reasons. 1. the source of the allegation was previously caught out perpetrating a literary fraud. 2. His account of the affair contains no chronology. Tracing the footsteps of Fleming and CG after the war reveals that they both traveled extensively and CG actually lived in Cairo and in Kenya for lengthy periods of time. When Fleming traveled, which was often, it was usually in the company of his mistress Lady Anne Rothermere, wife of the proprietor of the old Kemsley newspaper chain Lord Rothermere - who was also Fleming's post-war employer.
Holland's story can be said to be based 'loosely' on a true story but the online synopsis written by producer Raf Cusk bears little relation to the truth.
One example: CG never 'operated' out of Poland as he claims. Budapest was her base of operations .She entered Poland only twice in 1940, both times to conduct surveillance and to make contact with an intelligence cells .She never took part in 'daring raids.' She certainly never participated in raids on Cairo - Egypt was more or less a British colony at the time and she was living in Cairo after having been sacked by SOE. Nor did she participate in any raid on Syria.
She was sent there to conduct surveillance in late 1941 AFTER the 8th Army had conquered Syria.
I don't expect biopics to follow exactly the subject's life story but neither do I expect to see wild exaggerations of someone's exploits.

Thanks for that Ron, it's a shame you can't give out more details, but it does look like you have a strong argument to counter the events in the film.

Of course we would see the script change so much from now until filming begins, and if there's no script right now then the producer's blurb could be way off. You'll know that the writer is the one to research and create the story, not the producer. Right now we could just be hearing his interpretation of the story, or the opening blurb, who knows.

Of course we have to be realistic, Hollywood changes historical fact constantly to make an exciting story, regardless of how big the events actually are - U-571, Pearl Harbo(u)r even.

Hopefully the Ian Fleming part of the story doesn't make the focus of the story, hopefully it'll be her story. I'm sure you'd agree with that.

Richard -

I share your feelings about the Christine-Fleming affair. Yes, it should be her
story. If a character representing him appears, then the audience focus may well shift to him. I'd be pleased to direct the screenwriter to the right sources if it would help make the film a success.
BTW, I hate 3D films too!


Ron Nowicki


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