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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 »

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

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Cast

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

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ADVENTURE SWEEPING ACROSS A CONTINENT!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

11 September 1950 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Manhunt  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Beyond Recognition (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Paper Doll
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Black
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User Reviews

 
The Case of the Curious Shared Plot line Movies
25 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1950 was a great year for films, but for some reason two fine ones came out that had the same plot line (with variations) set in two different parts of the world. These were CRISIS and STATE SECRET. CRISIS was set in Latin America, in a country run by a dictator and his cronies, similar to the Perons in Argentina. The dictator (Jose Ferrer) has a brain tumor, and when an American brain surgeon (Cary Grant) and his wife come to the country on a vacation, the dictator puts pressure on the brain surgeon to perform secret surgery on him. Grant also has pressure on him by the local revolutionaries (led by Gilbert Roland) to botch the operation.

STATE SECRET was a British film starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Jack Hawkins, Glynnis Johns, and Herbert Lom. Vacationing in a Balkan state that is not totally Communist (read Yugoslavia), Fairbanks is pressured by the head of the Secret Service (Hawkins) into operating on the Genreralisimo (a type of elderly version of Tito) who is gravely ill. When, after an initial period where the patient is responding well to the operation, the dictator dies, Fairbanks realizes that his life is in danger (Hawkins can't have the death of the dictator revealed so early - there has to be a replacement ready in the wings). Fairbanks' adventures in fleeing (aided by Johns and Lom) are the basis of the plot.

I find the sociological background to Latin American politics in CRISIS better than the Balkan background to STATE SECRET, but there are nice touches. Hawkins is a dangerous foe, but he is a man with an astute political brain. Lom (playing his normal villainous type: a blackmailing scoundrel) turns in a superb comic performance when he unwittingly stumbles on a secret he'd prefer never knowing at all. Fairbanks Jr. was always underrated as an actor, because too many critics saw him as trying to carry on the tradition of swashbuckling films his father made famous in the silent period. But he was better than that, and shows real, growing concern for Johns and her safety as the film continues.

If possible try to see this and CRISIS together, to see which one is better. I bet you will find that an impossible choice. Enjoy them both.


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