Main content

Alexander Korda - Producer, Director, Exile, Spy

Matthew Sweet unearths the great film-maker Alexander Korda's wartime role as a British agent in America - and uncovers the spies he was helping to fund.

Matthew Sweet unearths the great film-maker Alexander Korda's wartime role as a British agent.

He retraces Korda's identity-shifting journey from rural Hungarian poverty to the heart of the anti-Nazi English aristocracy, where this legendary operator befriended leading intelligence officers, and Winston Churchill.

Matthew explores Korda's innovative, high-stakes role as a British propagandist in America, and his part in the desperate effort to coax the Americans into the war as Britain struggled to keep going against the Nazis through 1940 and 1941.

But Matthew also uncovers the more shadowy side of Korda's work for the British, identifying the spies in Latin America he was helping to fund, and tracking the FBI's efforts to expose what he was up to.

And he speaks to Korda's nephew, the writer Michael Korda, about his memories of this extraordinary man and his relationship to the country he made his home, and for which he took such risks.

Speakers include: Angela Allen, Roderick Bailey, Sarah Churchwell, Charles Drazin, John Fleet, Henry Hemming and Michael Korda.

Producer: Phil Tinline

Available now

44 minutes

Last on

Sun 19 May 2019 18:45

Broadcast

Featured in...

Classical music in a strongman's Russia – has anything changed since Stalin's day?

Classical music in a strongman's Russia – has anything changed since Stalin's day?

What composer Gabriel Prokofiev and I found in Putin's Moscow...

Six Secret Smuggled Books

Six Secret Smuggled Books

Six classic works of literature we wouldn't have read if they hadn't been smuggled...

Grid

Grid

Seven images inspired by the grid

World Music collector, Sir David Attenborough

World Music collector, Sir David Attenborough

The field recordings Attenborough of music performances around the world.