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The Man Who Never Was (1956)

Approved | | War, Drama | 9 May 1956 (France)
True story of a British attempt to trick the enemy into weakening Sicily's defenses before the 1943 attack, using a dead man with faked papers.

Director:

Writers:

(book) (as The Hon. Ewen Montagu C.B.E. D.L. Q.C.), (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
...
Lucy Sherwood
Robert Flemyng ...
Lt. George Acres
Josephine Griffin ...
Pam
...
Patrick O'Reilly
...
Adm. Cross
Geoffrey Keen ...
Gen. Nye
Moultrie Kelsall ...
The Father
...
Taxi Driver
...
...
Gen. Coburn
...
Vice-Admiral
Joan Hickson ...
Landlady
Terence Longdon ...
Larry (as Terence Longden)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Club Porter
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Storyline

British Intelligence during World War II is trying to get the German High Command to shift its forces away from Italy prior to the invasion. To create the illusion that England is in fact planning to invade Greece, they plan to procure a dead body, plant secret papers on it, and arrange for the Spanish authorities to find it and send the papers on to the Germans. That's the plan, anyway. First they have to find a body that will look drowned, then create an identity for it that will pass German scrutiny. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A dead man goes to war! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

9 May 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, den es nie gab  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Montague selects a man who had died of pneumonia, because the corpse would need to present with similarly damaged lungs if it had really drowned. There is also a very emotional scene where the man's father is persuaded to allow his son to be used for the deception. In fact, a Welsh vagrant, both of whose parents were dead, was used, and his death was due to his committing suicide by ingesting rat poison. It was judged to make it almost impossible to tell that this, rather than drowning, was the real cause of death. For years the identity of "the man who never was" was a closely guarded secret, until it was discovered he was called Glyndwr Michael. His grave in Spain uniquely carries both his fictional and real names. See more »

Goofs

When the Spanish fisherman finds the dead body on the beach it is supposed to be early in the morning. However, the sun is low in the sky over the water (i.e. in the west), indicating it's really in the late afternoon. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: If we turn up at that address, it could only mean that we've been tipped off, and that the whole Martin story is a plant. This man will have committed suicide, but Jerry will know the answer, and our operation will be blown. I'm sorry, sir, but we mustn't touch him. We daren't.
General Coburn: You mean till after we think he's got a message through.
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: No sir, right up to the time of the landings. Because the fact that there have been no further messages from him might give the game away.
General Coburn: You realize he'll ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Military security and respect for a solemn promise have made it necessary to disguise the identity of some of the characters in this film; but in all other essentials this is the true story of "Major William Martin" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Back to the Beach (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Bless 'em All
(uncredited)
Written by Fred Godfrey (1917)
Revised lyrics by Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake (1940)
Additional lyrics by Al Stillman (1941)
Sung by the patrons of pub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating Sleeper!
29 January 2006 | by (near Chiago, in Indiana) – See all my reviews

While I am old enough to have seen many of Clifton Webb's movies, I had never heard of this one. We found it in a video store display. i am delighted to have bought it. The story was streamlined, and well told. No wasted or unnecessary subplots. It was much more intrigue than a usual war movie, and clearly a suspenseful tale. The fact that it is true, only adds to the enjoyment. In spite of it's age, it holds up well. The acting is quite sincere and believable. Gloria Grahame is in one of her best roles. The English cast was mostly unfamiliar, but well chosen. Great and moving ending. I would put as a must see for any WWII or history buff. Most women will sympathize, and not too gory or bloody. But still will appeal to men for the suspense.


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