Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (Monty) addressing senior officers of the British 8th Army, August 13, 1942:
For days preceding D-Day, a self-effacing British vaudevillian, M.E. Clifton James, crisscrossed North Africa to make speeches to assembled British troops.
"Here we will stand and fight. There will be no further withdrawal. I have ordered that all plans and instructions dealing with further withdrawal are to be burnt, and at once.
Recruited by British Intelligence, the actor feigned to be the British supreme commander in North Africa, Field Marshall Montgomery. The ruse succeeded in deceiving the Germans about Allied D-Day invasion plans.
The great point to remember is that we are going to finish with this chap Rommel once and for all. It'll be quite easy. There's no doubt about it. He is definitely a nuisance. Therefore we will hit him a crack and finish with him."
James' memoir describing his time impersonating the commander served as source for I Was Monty's Double (1958). In the movie, James plays himself playing Monty. Here he articulates why mimicry amuses but gifted acting transforms:
"It isn't that I don't think I can imitate his voice and mannerism. They're more or less tricks. I can get them alright. It's the actual personality...It's one thing getting up on the stage for a couple of minutes, but I watched him, close to, seen the effect he has on people... I know I can look like him, but that isn't enough. I've never commanded...It's got to be there, inside..."