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The Scapegoat (1959)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller  |  6 August 1959 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,065 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

A French count schemes to kill his wife and implicate a mild-mannered English schoolteacher whom he resembles

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Scapegoat (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Barratt / Jacques De Gue
...
Countess
Nicole Maurey ...
Bela
Irene Worth ...
Francoise
Pamela Brown ...
Blanche
Annabel Bartlett ...
Marie-Noel
Geoffrey Keen ...
Gaston
Noel Howlett ...
Dr. Aloin
...
Aristide
Leslie French ...
Lacoste
Alan Webb ...
Inspector
Maria Britneva ...
Maid
Eddie Byrne ...
Barman
Alexander Archdale ...
Gamekeeper
...
Customs Official
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Storyline

On a vacation in France from his nondescript job and life, John Barratt encounters a titled but impoverished French nobleman who looks exactly like him. The nobleman gets John drunk, and switches places with him to take a breather from his failing business and too-complicated life. John tries to convince everyone he is not who they think he is, but he begins to get more and more involved with the count's family, including an unhappy wife, domineering mother, lonely but talented young daughter, bitter spinster sister and the expected mistress. As John gets to know them he feels he can help them with their problems, but is also becoming used to his borrowed life, which has given him a purpose for the first time. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M presents his [Alec Guinness's] new hit! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

6 August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Sündenbock  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, the original choice for Barratt / De Gué was Cary Grant, but Daphne Du Maurier insisted on Alec Guinness because he reminded her of her father, actor Gerald du Maurier. See more »

Goofs

The position of the bottle of wine on the table and the amount of wine in the glass changes between shots when John Barratt and Jacques De Gue are talking after they first meet. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Customs Official: You have the intention of staying long in France, Mr. Barratt?
John Barratt: I don't know. That is to say that I didn't know there was any restriction apart from the question of money.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over various images of the book by Daphne DuMaurier. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Scapegoat (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Film Flam
2 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A lesser nobility finds an ersatz university professor that looks like his identical double and decides to have him take his place and devises a scheme to do it. The two are of course both played by Alec Guinness. He is marvelous in his performance but that isn't enough.

At the end the nobility came back wanting to take the place of his "scapegoat" after the scapegoat had improved things. You have to discover the end for yourself. After all, it is the only part of this dreary movie that I liked.

Do you want the best of Guinness? Then watch his performances in Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Murder by Death, and Star Wars. He is just as much in his peak here in this movie as he is in the other movies but this movie falls flat by comparison.

If you want to see the best of dual personalities watch Blake Edwards (creator of the Pink Panther series) "The Great Race." Jack Lemmon does such a wonderful job of playing both Professor Fate and Crown Prince Frederic Hoepnick that even Tony Curts shows his admiration for Jack Lemmon's skills. It wasn't called for in the script. It was just the honest emotions of Tony Curtis as he marveled at the performance of Jack Lemmon and his shift from one personality to the other. Both "The Scapegoat" and "The Great Race" require that you suspend your disbelief. It is just that in "The Great Race" it takes over very fast on its own. Relax and enjoy it. The Scapegoat? I never got there. I had this uneasy feeling all the way through that I was being given shoddy goods by the film-flam man.

Now when I know these other magnificent performances how do you think I will feel for this movie after watching them? I am sorry, but Gore Vidal's attempts to smooth over the erratic direction didn't cut it. The movie is lucky to get a 5 and got that only because of Guinness performance.


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