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Circle of Deception (1960)

A Circle of Deception (original title)
Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | November 1960 (UK)
Unbeknownst to him, a soldier is sent on a doomed mission because of the high likelihood of him divulging secrets if captured and tortured.



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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Stein
Maj. Taylor
Ronald Allen ...
Jim Abelson
A.J. Brown ...
Frank Bowen
Henry Crow
Charles Lloyd Pack ...
Jacques Cey ...
Capt. Ormrod
Hennie Scott ...
Small boy
Meier Tzelniker ...


In 1944, prior to the Allied landings in Normandy, British Intelligence is anxious to mislead the Germans regarding the actual landing sites. The logical place for landings is Pas-De-Calais, France, where the distance between UK and France is shortest. The Germans know it and expect the Allies to land there. However, the Allies plan to land in Normandy but they continue in misleading the Germans about landings in Pas De Calais. British Navy Captain Thomas Rawson, in charge of an intelligence unit, plans to mislead the Germans by dropping a British officer in their lap. That officer would be misled himself to believe that Pas-De-Calais is the correct area. Then, he would be sent there, to coordinate French resistance. In reality, he would be sacrificed to the Gestapo.The ideal patsy should resist interrogation under torture, if captured, but should eventually crack and reveal what he knows. Of course, he would reveal what he was told by British Intelligence, which is plain ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The terrifying adventure of the only man in the whole war who had to fight both sides - alone ! See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1960 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Circle of Deception  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Leads Bradford Dillman and Suzy Parker first met on this shoot and later married. See more »


Capt. Thomas Rawson: The instructions our agent were to carry to Ballard were that on a certain day, on receipt of a certain signal, he and the Maquis were to attack all major roads and bridges in the Marignon sector. It didn't matter if they didn't destroy them so long as they attacked them. What was important was that the Germans would deduce from this attack that the invasion of France would take place in that area, thereby forcing them to hold troops there which would be more useful elsewhere.
Maj. William Spence: Well, it won't ...
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On the Quarter Deck
Music by Kenneth Alford
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User Reviews

A hero by any other name
2 December 2016 | by See all my reviews

Years ago, I read "Op JB" by Christopher Creighton. It was published in 1996 and was supposedly true, telling of secret missions during WW2 carried out by the author. The veracity of the book is still debated.

I must admit I wasn't sure what to believe until I came to the part where the author claimed he was used by M-Section to persuade the Germans that the Allied invasion of Europe would focus on the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. His superiors betrayed his identity as a British agent to the SS so that under torture he would confirm the story, which he thought to be true. He was then rescued by M-section and returned to Britain.

That's when I thought, "I know this story". It was the plot of "A Circle of Deception" starring Bradford Dillman, which I had seen in the 1960's. My belief in the book lessened considerably after I made that connection.

"A Circle of Deception" was a forerunner of the more cynical, anti-hero films about WW2 that hit with a vengeance in the 1960's. Then WW2 movies often became surrogates for the Vietnam War, which didn't get its own movies until it was over.

"Circle of Deception" didn't have massive stars. Bradford Dillman seemed a modern sort of actor mainly from television. His character, Captain Paul Raine, is chosen for the mission because it is believed he will crack under torture and give the Nazis the misinformation the British want them to have. Whatever baggage Dillman carried in 1960 is long gone; now he is convincing as the operative who wrestles to overcome his fears.

Harry Andrews as Captain Rawson the intelligence chief who devised the mission is perfect. Head of Section roles were an Andrews' specialty.

Suzy Parker played Lucy Bowen, Rawson's assistant who becomes romantically involved with Raine. Suzy had the look of those beautiful women that artists painted for the glossy magazine illustrations of the day; the camera loved her.

The interrogation scenes gave the film an edge, especially Robert Stephens as the urbane German intelligence officer who played good cop against the vicious Gestapo guys. Only the prison escape at the end smacked of standard movie heroics.

However, even after 50 years, this well-made film is still a bit of downer with its rather ruthless sacrifice of a British agent for the greater good.

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