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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
Laurence Naismith ...
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
Edit

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

Ian Fleming is said to be the author of this operation. The op is detailed and Flemng is given credit in the TV series, "Fleming, the man who would be Bond", 2014. See more »

Goofs

The scene is where William Martin's father is saying good-bye to his body in the hospital and talking with Ewen Montagu. As the father leaves the room, the shadow of the mike is well in shot on the wall behind him. See more »

Quotes

Pam: I think my alleged friend wants a light.
Lucy Sherwood: Why am I always your "alleged friend"?
Pam: George has never been quite sure that you exist.
Lucy Sherwood: Oh, I exist all right. It's about all I do.
Lieutenant George Acres: [lighting her cigarette] There's no doubt about that!
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: This is very interesting. From his attitude in the office, one would never suspect that George was such a fast worker.
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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