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36 Hours (1964)

Approved | | Thriller, War | 19 February 1965 (USA)
Germans kidnap an American major and try to convince him that World War II is over, so that they can get details about the Allied invasion of Europe out of him.



(screenplay), (story "Beware of the Dog") | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gen. Allison
Lt. Col. Ostermann (as Oscar Beregi)
Ed Gilbert ...
Capt. Abbott
German Guard
Karl Held ...
Cpl. Kenter
Henry Rowland ...
German Soldier


In this psychological war-drama an Army Major is captured by the Germans during World War II. They attempt to brainwash him into believing the war is over and that he is safe in an Allied hospital, so that he will divulge Allied invasion plans. Written by Patrick Dominick <p-dominick@adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Give Me Any American for 36 Hours And I'll Give You Back a Traitor" See more »


Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

19 February 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thirty Six Hours  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production license required any evidence that Yosemite was ever transformed into Bavaria, or the Wawona Hotel into an Allied Military Hospital had to be totally removed within 24 hours after the "36 Hours" exodus. Compliance with this condition was the only way Producer William Perlberg could get into the National Park area for his picture. See more »


The postcard from Lisbon reads "Sudações de Lisboa". It should be "Saudações" instead. See more »


Maj. Jefferson F. Pike: Are you really an army sergeant?
Sgt. Ernst: Regular army - no. I am too old, too fat! Home guard. We are patrolling the border so then the young, strong, and handsome men can go to Russia and freeze to death. Wonderful system, huh?
See more »


Referenced in Stargate SG-1: Out of Mind (1999) See more »


Mairzy Doats
Music by Jerry Livingston
Lyrics by Milton Drake and Al Hoffman
Sung by a vocal group on the radio
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User Reviews

Thanks for the memory?
28 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

This B&W movie "36 Hours" is now being repeated on digital TV quite regularly, and I never tire of watching it. The WW II storyline, written by Roald Dahl & Carl Hittleman, is an odd one. It has to be one of the most implausible, yet somehow believable tales ever to be thought up.

A US "hospital" run by Nazi Intelligence has been set up in Germany to enable secrets to be winkled out from it's "patients" (i.e. prisoners). The gimmick is that the inmates are led to believe that the war has been over for a number of years in favour of the Allies.

The new arrival a certain Maj. Jefferson Pike (James Garner) is an Overlorder (i.e. someone who is "au fait" with the plans of the forthcoming Normandy landings). After being kidnapped in Lisbon he is brought unconscious to the hospital and given necessary ageing treatment. On regaining consciousness he is told that he is suffering from amnesia, and has been a hospital patient for years, but he must now start remembering.

A disguised Wehrmacht psychiatrist Maj. Walter Gerber (an American born German, but a good guy at heart) (Rod Taylor) is given the task of unlocking the valuable knowledge. If he fails, he and his hospital are for the chop. (And the Allies will succeed in their invasion etc. etc.) Anna Hedler, his nurse, and supposedly Pike's wife, is an ex-concentration camp internee (Eve Marie Saint) who will do anything not to be sent back. End of stage one, but will the secrets come out in stage two?...watch the movie to find out.

"36 Hours", ably directed by George Seaton, is an intriguing movie that holds the attention right to the last. It's an intelligent script, complemented by intelligent acting, with suspenseful music holding it all together. Not exactly a classic, but I certainly think it will last the test of time (and on reflection...I suppose it already has done). Personally I love it.

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