Tuesday, June 15, 2021

BRITISH SPY AGENCY KEPT SCREENWRITER IN ITS SIGHTS

August 26, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Wolf Mankowitz, a leading British screenwriter and talk-show host in the 1950s and ’60s, was under surveillance by MI5, Britain’s secret service agency, for more than 20 years after he married a known communist in 1944, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported today (Thursday) citing documents released on Wednesday. The newspaper published excerpts from messages in Mankowitz’s file maintaining that Mankowitz, who died in 1998, needed to be watched as a possible Soviet spy. A 1946 message from the Metropolitan police special branch to MI5 said that a “Jew name [sic] Mankowitz” had moved into a laborer’s cottage in Essex and was planning to lecture on the Communist Party. The officer said that he found it “a little odd” for a professor to be settling down “in such a forsaken place.” Mankowitz, who may indeed have learned a bit about spying as one of the writers of the early James Bond movies — he reportedly introduced Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to one another — later hosted an interview show on ITV in which one guest once accused him directly of being a Communist. “No, I am not a Communist,” he replied. “I am an anarchist.”