Entertainment Movies Harold Holt was a Soviet defector, claims film
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Harold Holt was a Soviet defector, claims film

Harold Holt in 1966
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In 1968, a white haired man watches a military parade in Moscow, unaware of the camera pointed in his direction.

There is nothing suspicious about this, except that the man is the Australian prime minister. And he is dead.

Filmmaker Scott Mannion very much wants you to believe that Harold Holt, our nation’s 17th leader, did not drown at Cheviot Beach in 1967, but lived on behind the iron curtain as a Soviet defector.

Harold Holt in Moscow
Does new footage prove that Harold Holt defected to the Soviet Union? Photo: Supplied

Footage of the Moscow man, who looks “remarkably like Harold Holt”, arrived mysteriously in Mr Mannion’s letterbox last year, inspiring him to adapt the tale for the screen.

“I tried to find who had sent [the footage to] me, and I had friends at the Russian Club – I had made a Russian film years ago – and I questioned them about it and they said they knew nothing about it,” Mr Mannion told 2GB radio.

Supplied
A filmmaker hints at a Cold War scandal involving PM Holt. Photo: Supplied

It is “unfathomable” that an Australian prime minister could disappear, a fact that has fuelled a “conspiracy mythology” that he hopes to retell.

The filmmaker has reached his goal of more than $65,000 in funding to turn the clip into a feature length movie, which will star John Noble (of Lord of the Rings fame) as the PM.

Holt, crowdfunded on Kickstarter, will be “a great way of bringing this Cold War intrigue to the younger generations,” Mr Mannion said.

Harold Holt film mockup
‘Holt’ was crowdfunded on Kickstarted, and will suggest the prime minister was a Soviet sympathiser. Photo: Supplied

The possibility that Mr Holt could have been a Soviet sympathiser, and perhaps even a defector who escaped beneath the waves, can only bolster the myths surrounding our nation’s prime ministers in a month when another legend – Gough Whitlam – has died.

The vanishing of Mr Holt is our version of JFK, Mr Mannion said, which should make for interesting watching if it ever makes it to Australian cinemas.

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