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The Great Manhunt (1950)

State Secret (original title)
Visiting in England, famed American surgeon Doctor John Marlowe is decoyed to a middle European country, and discovers the operation he is to perform is on the Vosnian dictator. When the ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Colonel Galcon
Lisa Robinson
General Niva
Karel Stepanek ...
Dr. Revo
Karl Theodor
Hans Olaf Moser ...
Sigrist (as Hans Moser)
Guido Lorraine ...
Lieutenant Prachi
Arthur J. Buckman
Howard Douglas ...
Martin Boddey ...
Russell Waters ...
Arthur Howard ...
Carl Jaffe ...
Janovic Prada
Tomasi Bendel


Visiting in England, famed American surgeon Doctor John Marlowe is decoyed to a middle European country, and discovers the operation he is to perform is on the Vosnian dictator. When the latter dies, he is replaced by a look-alike, but Marlowe is the object of a shoot-to-kill, vicious pursuit by the secret police of Vosnia since it is vital to Vosnia that the dictator's death does not become known. Fleeing, he seeks help from an English-speaking actress, Lisa Robinson, and the two are harried across the countryside before being captured. (Produced by the British team of Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat "in association with London Films" and released in the U.S. by Columbia Pictures Corporation.) Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

11 September 1950 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Manhunt  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is set in the mythical country of "Vosnia", which, according to director Sidney Gilliat, was meant to suggest either Spain (to left-wingers) or what was then Yugoslavia (to right-wingers). A special "Vosnian" language was devised for the film by Georgina Shield, a teacher at the London School of Languages, and several of the actors took lessons in how to speak it over a period of several days, as it is extensively heard in the film. See more »


At the 'river docks', a London bus is visible in the background passing over the bridge. The stern of the 'barge' shown is also very clearly that of an English narrowboat, found nowhere on the Continent. See more »


Dr. John Marlowe: They tell me that in some parts of the world musicians are finding it increasingly difficult to compose non-political music, so it's very gratifying to think that a doctor can still perform a non-political operation.
See more »


Referenced in Beyond Recognition (2003) See more »


Paper Doll
Written by Johnny Black
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User Reviews

An exciting suspense thriller
8 September 1999 | by (Texas, USA) – See all my reviews

Fairbanks, in his most natural style makes you believe he is a gifted surgeon. He is "kidnapped" by a country to perform a delicate operation on its leader. Things go wrong and, of course, Fairbanks is in danger of being killed to silence his knowledge. I viewed this film a a local theatre in Los Angeles as "State Secret" and later I could see that other writers "borrowed" many of the twists and turns for later productions. Herbert Lom has a nice part and clearly establishes his talent for future films. Jack Hawkins is at his menacing best. Although there are some cute things to laugh at, this film is not a comedy as stated on the cover page, but an exciting chase that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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