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 »



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No wonder millions who read the sensational best seller about incredible Fred Demara say it makes fiction seem tame...No wonder his story was featured 3 different times in LIFE See more »


Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »





Release Date:

3 February 1961 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El gran impostor  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Referenced in Matinee Wives (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

pretty well-done but lousy message for the kids!
27 February 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This movie was very entertaining. Watching Tony Curtis assume all these different identities was fun to watch and all seemed like harmless fun. The problem, though, for me is that the real-life guy the character was based upon was a selfish jerk that could have easily hurt people. In a movie, it looks cute when a guy posing as a surgeon does an operation but in reality it's pretty awful--and highly illegal. And that is the problem--the movie sensationalizes and makes a hero of a terrible person than should never be idealized. Considering the message the film gives our kids, I would have loved it if they also emphasized the evil this man or others like him did as well. For a more well-rounded view of one of these brilliant sociopaths, try CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, as it shows the damage as well as the consequences (though in that case they were far less than they could have been).

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