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The Scapegoat (1959)

Unrated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 6 August 1959 (USA)
An English schoolteacher meets his lookalike, a French count; and unwillingly swaps identities with him.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Barratt / Jacques De Gue
...
Countess
...
Bela
Irene Worth ...
Francoise
Pamela Brown ...
Annabel Bartlett ...
Marie-Noel
...
Gaston
Noel Howlett ...
Dr. Aloin
...
Aristide
Leslie French ...
Lacoste
Alan Webb ...
Inspector
Maria Britneva ...
Maid
...
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:

He took another man's name... lived another man's life... loved another man's woman! 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  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$943,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

When John and Jacques first enter the hotel room, a small prop on the side table jumps due to a bad edit. 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

Version of The Scapegoat (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not perfect but still lots to enjoy.
14 February 2017 | by (Thailand) – See all my reviews

The Scapegoat has flown under the radar over the years and while it's not a classic movie, it is pretty compelling. Just watching the glorious Bette Davis carve up the scenery without moving a muscle is worth your time alone!

Actually; the entire cast is exemplary....

Peter Sallis (you'll recognize the voice/face) makes a very brief appearance at the beginning of the movie as a customs inspector. He must be 100 years old by now! Geoffrey Keen is sublime as the manservant, Gaston. For me, though, the irascible daughter steals this movie and makes it her own. The jolly hockey sticks are strong with this one!

An odd beginning and an unsatisfying ending...

I haven't read the book, but it's never clear to me if the innocent French teacher on holiday in France was deliberately set up way in advance or he really did just meet his doppelganger by chance and allow himself to be dragged into this vortex of intrigue.

But that aside, when John Barrat eventually arrives at the large house and is welcomed as Jacques De Gue, that rather messy start is forgiven and forgotten.

And the ending also fails to satisfy completely, too. I'd like to have seen how his future gets worked out with his adopted family. Instead, we see him snogging his mistress.

It's nice to see France as it once was and how I remember it in my childhood on holidays. Quiet, with serene cobbled streets and ancient houses. I can still remember the powerful smell of fresh French bread in the mornings... What a shame all that is now gone.

Sir Alec underplays his part and casually strolls through the fantastic situation that he's been thrust into. I'd like to have seen David Niven have a shot at this. I think he would have made this movie a lot more exciting... but it is what it is and it's still a pretty interesting way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!


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