American agent Peter Murphy is trying to escape from East Berlin when he encounters his exact double, millionaire playboy Mark Wainwright. After Wainwright is mistaken for him and killed by... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
As the canister holding the corpse of "Major Martin" is winched out of the HMS Seraph, the last line of lettering on the side is seen to be mostly worn away and nearly illegible. In the very next scene as the canister is lifted onto the submarine's deck, the lettering is suddenly completely legible once more - "SPECIAL F.O.S. SHIPMENT". See more »
Lieutenant George Acres:
Monty, that parachute that didn't open... Suppose we were to drop a fellow out of a plane over enemy territory, with papers on him saying we were going to invade Greece, and his parachute didn't open. The Germans would find him dead, and the papers, and "Aha," they'd say, "Look at this. Officer with secret papers, parachute didn't open... they're going to invade Greece."
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu:
Do we tell the man who jumps that the parachute doesn't work, or is it a sort of practical joke that he finds out on the way ...
[...] See more »
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 »
"The Man Who Never Was" is a wonderfully suspenseful, well-done World War II drama starring Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame, and Stephen Boyd. Superbly directed by Ronald Neame, the film is based on a true story - the planting of a dead body washed onto the Greek shore, which carries papers which will redirect the Axis away from an invasion of Italy planned by the Allies. In order to carry out this hoax, the Allies need the body of a man who died of pneumonia, which will mimic a drowning and fool the Nazis. The scene where such a man is located and Clifton Webb talks to the father is one of the most touching of the film, as is the poignant ending.
For all the accolades about his acting, it still seems that Clifton Webb is under-appreciated today - he goes from a vicious, fey gossip in "The Razor's Edge" to a difficult husband in "Titanic" to a strong, decisive, distinguished member of British Intelligence in this movie flawlessly. He is perfect as Montague. Stephen Boyd is excellent as an Irishman working undercover for the Nazis who appears in London to verify the existence of the dead soldier, who is given a fake identity. Gloria Grahame plays a woman who unexpectedly falls in love and winds up as part of the plot. She turns in a heartbreaking performance. The rest of the cast is uniformly good.
The movie's excitement comes not from action but from the tension of the situation. It's filmed in beautiful color. An excellent movie.
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