6.9/10
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The Scapegoat (1959)

Unrated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 6 August 1959 (USA)
An English schoolteacher meets his lookalike, a French count; and unwillingly swaps identities with him.

Director:

Robert Hamer

Writers:

Daphne Du Maurier (novel), Robert Hamer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Alec Guinness ... John Barratt / Jacques De Gue
Bette Davis ... Countess
Nicole Maurey ... Bela
Irene Worth ... Francoise
Pamela Brown ... Blanche
Annabel Bartlett Annabel Bartlett ... Marie-Noel
Geoffrey Keen ... Gaston
Noel Howlett ... Dr. Aloin
Peter Bull ... Aristide
Leslie French Leslie French ... Lacoste
Alan Webb Alan Webb ... Inspector
Maria Britneva ... Maid
Eddie Byrne ... Barman
Alexander Archdale Alexander Archdale ... Gamekeeper
Peter Sallis ... Customs Official
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Storyline

On a vacation in France from his nondescript job and life, John Barratt encounters a titled but impoverished French nobleman who looks exactly like him. The nobleman gets John drunk, and switches places with him to take a breather from his failing business and too-complicated life. John tries to convince everyone he is not who they think he is, but he begins to get more and more involved with the count's family, including an unhappy wife, domineering mother, lonely but talented young daughter, bitter spinster sister and the expected mistress. As John gets to know them he feels he can help them with their problems, but is also becoming used to his borrowed life, which has given him a purpose for the first time. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He took another man's name... lived another man's life... loved another man's woman! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 August 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Sündenbock See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$943,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Du Maurier-Guinness See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, the original choice for John Barratt / Jacques De Gue was Cary Grant, but Daphne Du Maurier insisted on Sir Alec Guinness because he reminded her of her father, actor Gerald du Maurier. See more »

Goofs

When they first enter the hotel room the suitcase is placed at the foot of the right side bed. The next morning it is at the foot of the left bed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Customs Official: You have the intention of staying long in France, Mr. Barratt?
John Barratt: I don't know. That is to say that I didn't know there was any restriction apart from the question of money.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over various images of the book by Daphne Du Maurier. See more »

Connections

Version of The Scapegoat (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Polite and well-heeled melodrama...and surprisingly quite enjoyable
3 May 2008 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Provincial University professor from England chances to meet his diabolical, selfish twin while on vacation in Paris. Daphne Du Maurier's novel gets a highly polished screen-treatment, with star Alec Guinness very fine in the dual role, the split-screen photography and editing pulled off with skill. After being tricked into assuming the French nobleman's eccentric life, the teacher finds himself settling well into this new role as a business tycoon and family man--until his glinty-eyed look-alike returns. Bette Davis has a small but important, amusing role as a dowager Countess, and there's also a wreck of a wife, a wise little girl, a loyal chauffeur, and an Italian mistress. Gore Vidal worked on the adaptation, and the literate script is absorbing yet constricting for the teacher-character (he can only attempt to explain so much without throwing the whole plot off-course). There's a lot of talk in the early stages that the Count is delusional and perhaps schizophrenic, all of which is quickly dropped once the teacher assumes his life. Still, it's a smartly-planned movie, one without hysterics or false dramatics. Guinness seems a bit uncomfortable at times, though this may have been intentional and is acceptable behavior here. A very entertaining film with some weak or disappointing passages, but just as many adept ones and a satisfying finish. *** from ****


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