7.4/10
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64 user 10 critic

The Man Who Never Was (1956)

Approved | | War, Drama | 9 May 1956 (France)
True story of a British attempt to trick the enemy into weakening Sicily's defenses before the 1943 attack, using a dead man with faked papers.

Director:

Ronald Neame

Writers:

Ewen Montagu (book) (as The Hon. Ewen Montagu C.B.E. D.L. Q.C.), Nigel Balchin (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Stars: Dana Wynter, Robert Lansing, Paul Stewart
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clifton Webb ... Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
Gloria Grahame ... Lucy Sherwood
Robert Flemyng ... Lt. George Acres
Josephine Griffin ... Pam
Stephen Boyd ... Patrick O'Reilly
Laurence Naismith ... Adm. Cross
Geoffrey Keen ... Gen. Nye
Moultrie Kelsall ... The Father
Cyril Cusack ... Taxi Driver
André Morell ... Sir Bernard Spilsbury
Michael Hordern ... Gen. Cockburn
Allan Cuthbertson ... Vice-Admiral
Joan Hickson ... Landlady
Terence Longdon ... Larry (as Terence Longden)
Gibb McLaughlin ... Club Porter
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Storyline

British Intelligence during World War II is trying to get the German High Command to shift its forces away from Italy prior to the invasion. To create the illusion that England is in fact planning to invade Greece, they plan to procure a dead body, plant secret papers on it, and arrange for the Spanish authorities to find it and send the papers on to the Germans. That's the plan, anyway. First they have to find a body that will look drowned, then create an identity for it that will pass German scrutiny. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most fiendish plot ever conceived! The most amazing "human being" ever created! The most diabolical phantom-- See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

9 May 1956 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, den es nie gab See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sumar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints)| Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a rare straight role, an uncredited Peter Sellers impersonated the voice of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. See more »

Goofs

Though the film is set in 1943, contemporary cars can be seen in a couple of location shots in London: when Montagu and Admiral Cross come out from their meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1950s cars parked in the background); and again when O'Reilly is sitting on the park bench ('50s cars pass on the street behind). See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Now, about dates. There's got to be something on him that will show when he left. I think I can fix to get a receipted bill from the Naval and Military Club -- he stayed there on his last night.
Lieutenant George Acres: And he went to the theatre. Final celebration. He has the stubs of the tickets in his pocket.
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Item: two theatre tickets.
Lieutenant George Acres: Make it four, and for something worth seeing.
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: And what's going on in that bright little mind?
Lieutenant George Acres: Well, we've got to buy the tickets anyway, and Willie can't use them -- we might as well!...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Military security and respect for a solemn promise have made it necessary to disguise the identity of some of the characters in this film; but in all other essentials this is the true story of "Major William Martin" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Ministry of Time: Tiempo de espías (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Bless 'em All
(uncredited)
Written by Fred Godfrey (1917)
Revised lyrics by Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake (1940)
Additional lyrics by Al Stillman (1941)
Sung by the patrons of pub
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting spy drama
20 November 2000 | by mermattSee all my reviews

Based on "Operation Mincemeat" during World War II, this film is an excellent example of a spy movie that is interesting without being gimmicky or melodramatic. An excellent cast is headed by the redoubtable Clifton Webb. The elaborate plot to trick Nazis by using a corpse masquerading as a dead Royal Marine officer is amazing in its detail. The film is all the more astonishing because it is based on the actual ruse to deceive the enemy into thinking that the invasion of Italy would take place in a location other than where it actually happened. A good film for espionage lovers.


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