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Ernest Harden Jr.,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When John and Jacques first enter the hotel room, a small prop on the side table jumps due to a bad edit. See more »
You have the intention of staying long in France, Mr. Barratt?
I don't know. That is to say that I didn't know there was any restriction apart from the question of money.
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Opening credits are shown over various images of the book by Daphne DuMaurier. See more »
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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