25 March 2017

Maastricht and Sittard, Netherlands

Clark Gable and Lana Turner appeared together in four films, three of which are set during World War II. This includes the final picture they made, BETRAYED. The movie was largely shot on location in the Netherlands.

Betrayed, 0:27:59
The story is loosely based on the life of Christiaan “King Kong” Lindemans, a double agent who was part of the Dutch resistance but became an informant for the German military intelligence service. In the film, intelligence agent Colonel Pieter Deventer (Clark Gable) and suspected collaborator Carla van Oven (Lana Turner) both join the Dutch underground, which is being led by a man only known as ‘The Scarf’ (Victor Mature). Carla takes the identity of the recent liquidated Fran Seelers and uses her feminine charms to infiltrate with the Nazis.

In August 1953, production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced that the film, at that time called The True and the Brave, would be filmed on several locations in the Netherlands during the fall. Among the chosen locations were the cities Delft, Hoorn, Maastricht, Sittard, and Arnhem, sawmill De Vriendschap (“The Friendship”) in Monnickendam (burnt down in 1961), Ypenburg Airport, castles Zypendaal and Nijenrode, the Frisian village Moddergat, the hamlet Dokkumer Nieuw Zijlen and the Afsluitdijk. Dutch newspapers reported frequently about the American cast and crew coming to the Netherlands, especially Clark Gable and Lana Turner, who also brought along her husband at the time, Lex “Tarzan” Barker.

The first day of the locaton shoot was on 28 September 1953 in Maastricht, in the south of the Netherlands. Director Gottfried Rheinhardt was assisted by Dutch director Gerard Rutten. The Dominicanerkerk, a local church, was used as a wardrobe for about 600 costumes. According to newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad local women were asked not to attempt to kiss Clark Gable because it would cost production al lot of money.
Markt, Maastricht, 28 September 1953 (publicity photo)
The scenes in Maastricht are set just after the city has been liberated in September 1944. Shop owners were asked to adapt their windows to the situation of 1944. Members of the National Reserve played allied soldiers and a large number of people appeared as the joyful citizens of Maastricht, cheering when Pieter Deventer arrives. He drives through the Spilstraat and stops at the town hall located at Markt. Some of the extras look straight into the camera. Although most buildings have changed over the years, most of them can still be recognized.

Betrayed, 1:05:18
Markt, Maastricht, 9 August 2016
Betrayed, 1:05:22
Markt, Maastricht, 9 August 2016
Betrayed, 1:05:28
Spilstraat, Maastricht, 9 August 2016

Town hall, Maastricht, 9 August 2016
Pieter Deventer meets General Charles Larraby (Wilfred Hyde-White) at the town hall. Built in the seventeenth century it represents Dutch classicism. It was designed by Pieter Post and constructed between 1659 and 1664, the tower being completed in 1684. The building itself can hardly be seen in the movie, with the exception of the entrance hall. It is open to the public, unfortunately during our visit it was closed due to renovation. The mayor’s room was also used in the film. Although it appears to be on the first floor, in reality it is situated on the ground floor.

Betrayed, 1:05:40
Town hall, Maastricht, 9 August 2016

For this scene only, a carpenter was hired to make a replica of the window in the mayor’s room. Pieter Deventer looks outside and sees historical buildings that are still recognizable by its gables. The building on the left at Markt 65, nowadays a Kentucky Fried Chicken, has a gable showing a lion with a mortar with the inscription ‘In De Goude Leeuw’ (“At the Golden Lion”). Markt 65 dates from 1663 as it says on a stone between two windows (not pictured), the gable however was originally part of a former hotel at Spilstraat 5. The neighbouring building at Markt 66, today a pizza restaurant, was built in the nineteenth century. The gable is much older, it shows a large star and the text ’17 In de Sterre 77’ (“17 At the star 77”), and comes from a building at Grote Straat 13. Both buildings are national heritage sites.

Betrayed, 1:08:19
Markt, Maastricht, 9 August 2016
Gable at Markt 65, Maastricht, 9 August 2016
Gable at Markt 66, Maastricht, 9 August 2016

Limburgsch Dagblad, 24 September 1953
From Maastricht to Sittard is only 21 kilometers (about 13 miles). Filming in this town was done two days later, on 30 September 1953. Pieter Deventer visits The Scarf at a hotel called ‘De Kroon’ (“The Crown”, in reality a restaurant, today it is called ‘De Limbourg’). It is situated at a square called Markt, the same name as the square in Maastricht. A large crowd has gathered and cheers the leader of the resistance as he appears briefly on the balcony.

A few days earlier an advertisement in a local newspaper called for 300 extras who would be awarded 15 guilders (about 10 dollars) each. Most buildings at Markt are gone or have changed beyond recognition, with the exception of Sint-Michielskerk. This church, connected to a monastery, was built between 1659 and 1661.

Betrayed, 1:36:09
Markt, Sittard, 10 August 2016
Betrayed, 1:36:21
Markt, Sittard, 10 August 2016
Betrayed, 1:36:29
Markt, Sittard, 10 August 2016

Several publicity photos were made of the three main actors during their stay in the Netherlands, also on locations that are not seen in the film. Lana Turner and Lex Barker visited a souvenir shop in Volendam, a town popular with tourists, and Clark Gable was photographed in front of an unknown mill (not the mill in the movie).

Lana Turner and Lex Barker (publicity photo)
Clark Gable (publicity photo)

Victore Mature visited The Hague. The building he just passed is museum De Gevangenpoort (“The Prison’s Gate”) at Buitenhof 33.

Victor Mature in The Hague (publicity photo)
Museum De Gevangenpoort,
The Hague, 30 December 2016

By the time the movie premiered, on 7 September 1954 in the US, 8 November 1954 in the United Kingdom and 4 March 1955 in the Netherlands, the title had been changed to Betrayed. However, the Dutch release was still titled The True and the Brave, maybe because of the free publicity it had had during filming in the Netherlands. The film did not receive good reviews. The New York Times described it as “a betrayal of one of the most dramatic stories of World War II”, mainly because of “the fake and mushy story”.
Still, it remains a unique picture because of the many places in the Netherlands that were used to illustrate the story. I was not able to find all locations, perhaps buildings have been altered or demolished. If you happen to recognize one of the locations on the screenshots below, please let me know.

Update 10 July 2021 Visitor Jan-Jaap van der Steen recognized the location of screenshots 2 and 3 based on this photo from 1930 from the Gelders Archief: Janslangstraat in Arnhem. All homes have been replaced by new buildings or have been renovated.

Update 30 July 2023  Screenshot 5 is J.C. Brouwersgracht in Edam.

Betrayed, 0:12:05
Betrayed, 0:45:10
Betrayed, 0:45:23
Betrayed, 0:55:37
Betrayed, 0:56:34
Betrayed, 1:27:43

 For an overview of every location in this movie, see my blog Hollands Decor (in Dutch).

Screenshots, publicity photos and movie poster © MGM
Advertisement © Limburgsch Dagblad