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The Man Who Never Was (1956) Poster

Quotes

Lieutenant George Acres: Monty, that parachute that didn't open... Suppose we were to drop a fellow out of a plane over enemy territory, with papers on him saying we were going to invade Greece, and his parachute didn't open. The Germans would find him dead, and the papers, and "Aha," they'd say, "Look at this. Officer with secret papers, parachute didn't open... they're going to invade Greece."

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Do we tell the man who jumps that the parachute doesn't work, or is it a sort of practical joke that he finds out on the way down?

Lieutenant George Acres: Well, of course it would have to be somebody you didn't mind much about.

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Are you volunteering? No, George, it wouldn't work.

Lieutenant George Acres: What about using a man already dead?

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: The autopsy would show he was dead before he hit the ground. Let's get back to the office and think again.

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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.

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Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Suppose I wanted to put a dead body in the sea, and let it float ashore, and have it accepted by the people who find it as the victim of an air crash at sea. What sort of body would I need?

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[The military needs a dead body for counterintelligence.]

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: I can assure you that this is an opportunity for your son to do a great thing for England.

The Father: My son, sir, was a Scotsman. Very proud of it.

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: I beg your pardon?

The Father: Never mind. We're used to that. You English always talk about England when you mean Britain.

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Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Now, about dates. There's got to be something on him that will show when he left. I think I can fix to get a receipted bill from the Naval and Military Club -- he stayed there on his last night.

Lieutenant George Acres: And he went to the theatre. Final celebration. He has the stubs of the tickets in his pocket.

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Item: two theatre tickets.

Lieutenant George Acres: Make it four, and for something worth seeing.

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: And what's going on in that bright little mind?

Lieutenant George Acres: Well, we've got to buy the tickets anyway, and Willie can't use them -- we might as well! There are three of us already, and with Pam's alleged girlfriend...

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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.

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Admiral Canaris: Well?

German Officer: There's nothing new from Madrid, Admiral. The Führer has told his conference that the documents are undoubtedly genuine.

Admiral Canaris: You mean HE doesn't doubt them.

German Officer: He's quite sure.

Admiral Canaris: The Führer, of course, has certain advantages over mere intelligence officers like you and me, Frederick. He has his intuition, whereas we have to rely on our brains. And he's sure God is on his side.

German Officer: But you are not?

Admiral Canaris: I do not believe that God is on my side to the extent of sending me the enemy's plans.

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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 probably be out of the country in a couple of days.

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Yes, and we must let him go. After all, he's done us no harm.

General Coburn: Masterly inactivity!

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: "They also serve who only stand and wait."

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Voiceover in pre-credits sequence: Last night I dreamed a deadly dream / Beyond the Isle of Skye / I saw a dead man win a fight / And I think that man was I.

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Adm. Cross: [Montagu has just informed him of the secret plan to use a freshly dead body as if it were a live person to fool the Nazis] It's the most outrageous, disgusting, preposterous, not to say barbaric idea I've ever heard, but work out full details and get back to me in the morning!

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Thank you, sir!

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