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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The phony 1950 newspapers given to Major Pike depict "President Wallace". Henry Wallace was Vice President of the United States in 1944, when the film actually takes place. He was not slated on the Democratic ticket later that year and was succeeded as Vice President by Harry S. Truman. See more »
(1:24:16) One of the SS orderlies reports to Otto Schack calls him Gruppenführer, but it's been established that Schack is a Standartenführer. A few seconds later,the next orderly reports to Schack and gets the rank right. See more »
Skeptical About Information Not Obtained Under Torture
36 Hours is a film that finds James Garner as a major attached to Allied intelligence and to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in London. The best kept secret of World War II was the exact date and location of the cross channel invasion into western Europe. As things get closer to D-Day, the Allies want to make sure the Nazis stay fooled right up to the end.
Which is why Garner goes to Lisbon to check out a source at the German Embassy in neutral Portugal. But the Nazis have been watching him too. While in Lisbon, he meets up with a Mr. Michael Finn at a hotel bar rendezvous which renders him unconscious and Garner is secretly flown to Germany.
The nice things about 36 Hours is that some of the facts about the landings at Normandy are woven very nicely into an intricate espionage story. Incidentally some of the same facts that were used in another Garner classic film, The Americanization of Emily, but in a far more comic vein.
What the Nazis have decided to do is trick Garner into revealing the plans for the imminent invasion. They've set up an elaborate facade of a US. Army Hospital in an occupied Germany in 1950 and when Garner wakes up, they're going to convince him that the war is over and the allies have been victorious. They've even cooked up a love interest in Eva Marie Saint who is formerly a concentration camp inmate and like all of them will do anything to avoid going back.
All this is the brainchild of German doctor Rod Taylor who is convinced that without the usual Nazi like methods Garner can be tricked into revealing vital information. Skeptical about the plan, but willing to go along with it if it succeeds is SS major Werner Peters who played a lovely variety of Nazis in the Sixties.
Of course when Garner does realize this is all a charade it becomes quite a three cornered cat and mouse game between him and Taylor and Peters. The SS has a tried and true motto, they're skeptical in general about information not obtained under torture.
36 Hours is a finely executed espionage and escape drama. The cast is at they're combined very best. But as good as the ones I've mentioned, there is one stunningly droll performance by John Banner, soon to become Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes. He plays a German version of Dad's Army and he's one of the older generation that hasn't bought into the Nazi way. He's the best in this fine film.
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