7.1/10
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10 user 2 critic

The Great Impostor (1961)

Based on a true story, a bright young man who hasn't the patience for the normal way of advancement finds that people rarely question you if your papers are in order. He becomes a marine, a... See full summary »

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. / Martin Donner / Dr. Gilbert / Ben. W. Stone / Dr. Joseph Mornay / Robert Boyd Hammnd
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Father Devlin
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Capt. Glover - HMCS Cayuga
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Warden J.B. Chandler
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Pa Demara
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Lt. Catherine Lacey
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Abbott Donner
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R.C. Brown
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Ma Demara
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Eulalie Chandler
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Cardinal
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Clifford Thompson
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Barney
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WAC Lieutenant
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Hotchkiss (as Richard Sargent)
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Storyline

Based on a true story, a bright young man who hasn't the patience for the normal way of advancement finds that people rarely question you if your papers are in order. He becomes a marine, a monk, a surgeon onboard a Canadian Warship, and a prison warden. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Will the Real Fred Demara Please Stand Up?? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 February 1961 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El gran impostor  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Curtis as Demara is shown boarding HMCS Cayuga (a Tribal Class destroyer) which was the actual ship the real Demara sailed in. See more »

Goofs

Lt. Catherine Lacey (played by actress Joan Blackman) is supposed to be from the Province of Saskatchewan, but doesn't know how to pronounce it. No Canadian would ever say, "SAS-KAT-chew-an" with the emphasis on the first 2 syllables and a flat,drawn out sounding of that first A. Canadians, especially those from the Province, would pronounce it "Sis-KATCH-chewin". See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: Dear Dad, Again (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A real personal performance by Tony Curtis for me
28 January 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

My favorite Tony Curtis picture has always been The Great Imposter. He's supported in this true story of a man who wouldn't settle for the humdrum by a wonderful cast of Hollywood players.

This film is particularly personal to me because I knew a Ferdinand Waldo DeMara character in my life. This person was not a great impostor like Curtis plays in this film, but like DeMara was amazingly bright and was a quick study. Even though he didn't have a high school diploma just like Fred DeMara, like DeMara with study he could learn enough to do anything. Unfortunately in the span of his life on earth all he did was use his brain was to con the social service system. And like Karl Malden's priest confidante to Tony Curtis, I told him he could do so much more with his life. Tony Curtis's performance is spot-on for me.

I have to say that my favorite moment in the movie is when DeMara is finally unmasked and we see a series of reaction shots of the various people he's fooled. Most of the facial expressions are of shock, but Raymond Massey who plays the Abbott of a Trappist Monastery reads the newspaper and has a grin that is priceless.

Recently Leonardo DiCaprio did a similar film and Catch Me If You Can did not take as lighthearted an approach as The Great Imposter. But the two should be viewed side by side for comparison. Leo's Frank Abegnale is also spot-on, but I think I like Tony Curtis's performance a tad better.

Maybe because this film is so personal others might not see it as I do, but I give it the best rating around.


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