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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:
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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

Taglines:

The True Life Story of the Actual Amazing Masquerader...His Romantic Escapades...His Adventures as Six Different Men!!! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

1 May 1961 (USA)  »

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

Curtis is assigned to HMCS Cayuga on 16 June 1951. However, in the Captain's cabin, the picture on the wall is of Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. Also the portrait appears to be the 1956 Annigoni painting of the queen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in NewsRadio: Stinkbutt (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
My favorite Tony Curtis film
2 December 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This very interesting film was based upon a book of the same name, in turn, based upon the extremely unorthodox life of Ferdinand Demara.

Watching this film naturally leads us to the question of what motivated Demana to lead this semi-criminal life? Is he a compulsive snake?: one who must periodically shed his skin because he needs new types of challenges periodically to avoid boredom? Or is he playing a cat and mouse game, periodically testing whether he can, once again, beat the system in assuming the identity of someone else? I suspect some of both. Unlike as shown in the film, he actually joined a monastery for several years when he ran away from home at age 16. I would think it extremely unusual for a restless teen to do so. I think that should tell us something about his psychological state.

There is always the problem of a few people who meet the bureaucratic requirements for a profession or advanced schooling but lack real life competency vs. those who are or show promise of being quite competent but lack the bureaucratic criteria for being accepted as an advanced student or as a professional.

The film dramatizes only a few of Demara's impersonations, albeit some of the most astounding. His attempt to reform the typical brutality in prisons was one highlight. However, his masquerading as a doctor in the Canadian Navy during the Korean war is the most unbelievable segment. Included is his historical surgery on several wounded Koreans while aboard ship.

I wonder if he had gotten married if he would have settled down? The fact that he tried to make it as a monk in his early adulthood may suggest that he didn't have marriage in his plans. Incidentally, Sue Anne Langdon sure was cute and vivacious as an aggressive man eater!

Demana is shown faking a suicide. This really happened.

I'm very surprised that this film was shot in B&W at this late date(1961), although Universal was a notoriously cheap studio.


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