Own ATOMIC BLONDE Digitally NOW and Blu-ray and DVD from December 11: The Real Life Bad Ass Women During The Cold War
Oscar® winner Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent during the Cold War in ATOMIC BLONDE. She is sent on a covert mission into Cold War Berlin where she must use all of the spy craft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Broughton must navigate her way through a deadly game of spies to recover a priceless dossier while fighting ferocious killers along the way in this breakneck action-thriller from director David Leitch.
To mark the release of Atomic Blonde on Digital Download 2nd December, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 11th December, we take a look at some of the real life women who made a difference during this tumultuous time in Cold War history.
Elizabeth Terrill Bentley was an American spy for the Soviet Union throughout WW2. However, in 1945 she defected from the Communist Party and in 1952 became an informer for the United States, naming over 80 Americans who had engaged in espionage for the Soviets.
Bentley provided no evidence to support her claims so many disputed the accuracy of her allegations. Her claims also remain controversial due to questions about the translations and vague nature of the exact identities related to the code names she had given. Despite the questions around her allegations, when her testimony became public in 1948, it became a media sensation. The shocking amount of spies she purportedly revealed was the first of its kind in the United States as prior to this, the public were naive to the fact that any American would spy on their own country.
Judith Coplon was an alleged KGB spy whose trials, convictions and successful appeals had a profound influence on espionage prosecutions during the 1960’s McCarthy era.
Coplon’s job in the Department of Justice meant she had access to counter-intelligence information, and was allegedly recruited as a spy by the KGB in 1944. Judith Coplon had a meeting with Vladimir Pravdin, the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) station chief in New York City on 4 January 1945. Pravdin described Coplon as a "very serious, shy, profound girl, ideologically close to us."
Like Lorraine Broughton, she was a double agent who became one of the KGBs most valuable sources and helped pass on FBI materials on Soviet organisations in the US and their information on leaders of the Communist Party of the United States.
Eileen Burgoyne was a spy during the Cold War who worked on the side of the British Government. Service records show that Eileen Burgoyne served with the Women's Royal Army Corps and later worked with MI5.
Information about Eileen Burgoyne's life as a spy emerged only after her death when builders at her former home found weapons sparking a bomb scare leading to an evacuation of her street. Police later found possessions and documents, which revealed her involvement in the intelligence services. It is believed, that she also worked as a translator during the questioning of Nazi prisoners after WW2.
The most salacious of the female spies, Ethel Elizabeth Gee nicknamed "Bunty", was an Englishwoman who helped her lover spy on the British Government for the Soviet Union. In 1958, Gee met Harry Houghton, a married, former sailor who had become a civil service clerk. She began an affair with Houghton and would pose as his wife when they booked into hotels. Houghton had been supplying military secrets to spies from the USSR though through Gee, he gained access to more classified material.
Gee at first protested her innocence. In the course of the trial, however, she finally admitted: "In the light of what transpires now, I have done something terribly wrong, but at that time I did not think I had done anything criminal." Houghton and Gee were sentenced to 15 years in prison on 22 March 1961.
Hede Massing was an Austrian actress in Vienna and Berlin, plus a communist, and Soviet intelligence operative in Europe and the United States. After WW2, she defected from the Soviet underground.
Hede became disillusioned with life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin but later became a member of the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) apparatus after moving to the USA, working under the direction of a Soviet officer based in New York.
Her most important duty was that of an agent recruiter, which she was incredibly successful at and managed to recruit Laurence Duggan, head of the South American desk at the United States Department of State during WW2.
Inspired by the real life spies from the Cold War, Lorraine Broughton first appeared in graphic novel The Coldest City however Charlize Theron really brings the character to life in the 2017, action film Atomic Blonde. Most certainly passing The Bechdel Test, Theron shows the resilient, nonstop MI6 agent who won’t be broken, using all the spy craft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.
Atomic Blonde is available on Digital Download on 2nd December, Blu-ray™ and DVD from 11th December, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK).