60 user 10 critic

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.



(book) (as The Hon. Ewen Montagu C.B.E. D.L. Q.C.), (screenplay)

On Disc

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
Lucy Sherwood
Robert Flemyng ...
Lt. George Acres
Patrick O'Reilly
Adm. Cross
Gen. Nye
The Father
Taxi Driver
Gen. Coburn
Larry (as Terence Longden)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Club Porter

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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


The most fiendish plot ever conceived! The most amazing "human being" ever created! The most diabolical phantom-- See more »


War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

9 May 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, den es nie gab  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the events of this film took place in 1943, Sir Bernard Spilsbury was in his 60s. André Morell, who plays him in the film, was in his late 40s when the film was made. See more »


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 »


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 »


Referenced in El ministerio del tiempo: Tiempo de espías (2017) See more »


Bless 'em All
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
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User Reviews

A soldier's sense of duty extends beyond death
18 May 2000 | by (Champ sur Drac, France) – See all my reviews

Good movie indeed ! A convoluted plan conceived down to the most minute details... Quite realistic and shrewd. Lots of lives were at stake...

I liked the ambiance and the pace of the action. No loud scenes, no heroes (except the corps) just men and a sense of duty and righteousness.

It also takes some brains to win a war not only blood and guts.

32 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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