British Spy Agency Kept Screenwriter In Its Sights
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). The newspaper published excerpts from messages in Mankowitz's file maintaining that Mankowitz 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 -- 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."