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The Man Who Never Was (1956)

 -  War | Drama  -  9 May 1956 (France)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,527 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 8 critic

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.

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Title: The Man Who Never Was (1956)

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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
Laurence Naismith ...
Adm. Cross
Geoffrey Keen ...
Gen. Nye
Moultrie Kelsall ...
The Father
...
Taxi Driver
...
...
Gen. Coburn
Allan Cuthbertson ...
Vice-Admiral
Joan Hickson ...
Landlady
Terence Longdon ...
Larry (as Terence Longden)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Club Porter
Edit

Storyline

British Intelligence during World War II is trying to get the German High Command to shift it's forces away from Italy prior to the invasion. To create the illusion of a plan for England to invade Greece a dead body is to be procured, allowed to be found with secret papers on him by Spanish authorities who will send the papers on to the Germans, or that's the plan. First they have to find a body that will look drowned, and create an identity for him that will pass the examination of the German agent who is sure to check him out. 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

Clifton Webb, who usually wore a mustache in his films and in real life, had a full beard in this film because Royal Navy regulations forbade its officers and men from wearing only a mustache. To comport with the Navy's rules, Webb's choice was to be either entirely clean-shaven or to have a beard. The real Ewen Montagu, the character Webb portrays in the movie (and who is seen in a cameo as an Air Marshal in the meeting of the Chiefs of Staff), was in fact clean-shaven. 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 George Acres: You know, Monty, what we really want is something absolutely simple, the simpler the better.
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Good boy, George, you're absolutely right.
Lieutenant George Acres: Well, how about this: suppose we issue Greek dictionaries to all the troops. Why should we do that unless we intend to invade Greece? That would fool them.
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: I should make it Eskimo dictionaries. That would really fool them.
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

Based on a true story, and very well done
19 January 2001 | by (New Orleans, La.) – See all my reviews

Interesting, absorbing tale based on an actual British Intelligence operation during World War II. The casting (Clifton Webb is perfect in the lead role) was top notch, and the impeccable attention to even minor details was extraordinary. A fan of 'blood and guts' movies would be well advised to look elsewhere...this well-crafted little gem is for the connoisseur.

Stephen Boyd gave a very good performance as an Irish secret agent working for the Nazis. In several scenes, he could barely contain his contempt for the English people he encountered during his mission in London. At one point, after setting himself up for capture by counter-intelligence agents, he awaits their arrival with his Luger pistol, obviously hoping for a bloody showdown, and when the agents fail to appear, he is both relaxed and also angry at not getting to kill anyone. Subtle, yet amazing.

9 out of 10.


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