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The Great Impostor (1960)

TV-PG | | Comedy, Drama | February 1961 (USA)
Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. is a versatile man who gets his kicks out of impersonating a marine, a monk, a navy surgeon and a prison warden, eventually getting in trouble with the law for it.

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writers:

Robert Crichton (novel), Liam O'Brien (screenplay)
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. / Martin Donner / Dr. Gilbert / Ben. W. Stone / Dr. Joseph Mornay / Robert Boyd Hammnd
Karl Malden ... Father Devlin
Edmond O'Brien ... Capt. Glover - HMCS Cayuga
Arthur O'Connell ... Warden J.B. Chandler
Gary Merrill ... Pa Demara
Joan Blackman ... Lt. Catherine Lacey
Raymond Massey ... Abbott Donner
Robert Middleton ... R.C. Brown
Jeanette Nolan ... Ma Demara
Sue Ane Langdon ... Eulalie Chandler
Larry Gates ... Cardinal
Mike Kellin ... Clifford Thompson
Frank Gorshin ... Barney
Cindi Wood ... WAC Lieutenant
Dick Sargent ... Hotchkiss (as Richard Sargent)
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Storyline

Based on a true story, a bright young man who hasn't the patience for the normal way of advancement finds that people rarely question you if your papers are in order. He becomes a marine, a monk, a surgeon onboard a Canadian Warship, and a prison warden. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No wonder millions who read the sensational best seller about incredible Fred Demara say it makes fiction seem tame...No wonder his story was featured 3 different times in LIFE See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Korean

Release Date:

February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran impostor See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Hastings' movie debut. See more »

Goofs

Curtis is assigned to HMCS Cayuga on 16 June 1951. However, in the Captain's cabin, the picture on the wall is of Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. Also the portrait appears to be the 1956 Annigoni painting of the queen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Forged Steele (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A real personal performance by Tony Curtis for me
28 January 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

My favorite Tony Curtis picture has always been The Great Imposter. He's supported in this true story of a man who wouldn't settle for the humdrum by a wonderful cast of Hollywood players.

This film is particularly personal to me because I knew a Ferdinand Waldo DeMara character in my life. This person was not a great impostor like Curtis plays in this film, but like DeMara was amazingly bright and was a quick study. Even though he didn't have a high school diploma just like Fred DeMara, like DeMara with study he could learn enough to do anything. Unfortunately in the span of his life on earth all he did was use his brain was to con the social service system. And like Karl Malden's priest confidante to Tony Curtis, I told him he could do so much more with his life. Tony Curtis's performance is spot-on for me.

I have to say that my favorite moment in the movie is when DeMara is finally unmasked and we see a series of reaction shots of the various people he's fooled. Most of the facial expressions are of shock, but Raymond Massey who plays the Abbott of a Trappist Monastery reads the newspaper and has a grin that is priceless.

Recently Leonardo DiCaprio did a similar film and Catch Me If You Can did not take as lighthearted an approach as The Great Imposter. But the two should be viewed side by side for comparison. Leo's Frank Abegnale is also spot-on, but I think I like Tony Curtis's performance a tad better.

Maybe because this film is so personal others might not see it as I do, but I give it the best rating around.


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