6.9/10
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The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | 29 May 1963 (USA)
A former intelligence officer is tasked by the heir to the Gleneyre estate to investigate the unusual deaths of a disparate group of eleven men on a list.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Anthony Veiller (screenplay by), Philip MacDonald (based upon a story by)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Organ Grinder
Kirk Douglas ... George Brougham / Vicar Atlee / Mr. Pythian / Arthur Henderson
Burt Lancaster ... Animal Rights Protester
Robert Mitchum ... Slattery
Frank Sinatra ... Gypsy
George C. Scott ... Anthony Gethryn
Dana Wynter ... Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm
Clive Brook ... Marquis of Gleneyre
Gladys Cooper ... Mrs. Karoudjian
Herbert Marshall ... Sir Wilfrid Lucas
Jacques Roux Jacques Roux ... Raoul Le Borg
John Merivale ... Adrian Messenger
Marcel Dalio ... Max Karoudjian
Bernard Archard ... Insp. Pike
Tony Huston ... Derek Bruttenholm (as Walter Anthony Huston)
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Storyline

Messenger asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip. When his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend checks into the list, each seems to have died in mysterious circumstances. As he goes down the list, the deaths become more recent and a race to find the remaining survivors and what put each of them on this list ensues. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

5 Great Stars Challenge You to Guess the Disguised Roles they Play! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to some reports, Frank Sinatra's heavily disguised cameo appearance in film was actually the work of facially similar actor Dave Willock; Sinatra only appeared at end of the film in unmasking sequence where he peeled off makeup. See more »

Goofs

The closer shots during the fox-hunting scenes were shot in a studio using rear projection. In these shots, wires can be seen holding the actors and allowing them to move up and down as though riding real horses. See more »

Quotes

George Brougham: [Referring to the plane crash] You know, according to the newspapers, there's a strong possibility that the crash was no accident.
Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm: If there was a bomb, it would have to have been put there by a madman.
George Brougham: That's the excuse they usually give for evil. Hitler was mad, they said. So he may have been... but not necessarily. Evil does exist. Evil IS.
[He shakes his head]
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the last scene, the words "The End" (and production company and distributor credits) are superimposed. But then Kirk Douglas says in voiceover "Hold it! Stop!" The text now disappears again and the music score also stops. He continues: "That's the end of the picture, but it's not the end of the mystery." Scenes featuring four of the film's minor roles are now quickly reprised, with a suitable musical score, and the four actors each remove face masks and other makeup to reveal that the respective parts were played by Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra. Finally, Douglas similarly reprises five disguises that his character wore during the course of the story, and after the last one, reveals his face (which we had already seen when his character was undisguised). He says to the camera, "Ladies and gentlemen -- The End", and continues picking off bits of face mask glue while the musical theme concludes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Into the Shadows: The CIA in Hollywood (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

A Wand'ring Minstrel I
from the operetta "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Played on the hurdy gurdy
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User Reviews

 
A hunting we will go
24 April 2007 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

(There are Spoilers) Visiting his good friend novelist Adrian Messanger, John Merivale, former WWII British intelligence officer and member of the secretive MI5 agency Anthony Gerthryn, George C. Scott, is puzzled by Messengers' somewhat cryptic sheet of paper that he gave him to investigate. The paper has ten names on it all seemingly having nothing to do with each other.

It's not long afterword that when Messenger goes on a business flight to Canada that things begin to get a bit clearer for Gerthryn when the plane that Messenger is on suddenly explodes, from a time bomb that was secretly placed on it, in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean. It just happened that Messenger survived the airplane crash by shearing a raft with another passenger of the doomed flight WWII ace French intelligence man Raoul La Borg, Jacques Roux. La Borg who took down, in his photographic mind, the dying mans last words that reveal, if deciphered, the truth about his list and the person who's not only responsible for his impending death but the deaths of all the persons, some who at the time were still alive, on it!

Despite its novelty of guessing just who are the actors, Burt Lancaster Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis etc. etc., playing in the movie with them having very obvious disguises. It's only Kirk Douglas as George Brougham, together with some half dozen other disguises, and Robert Mitchum as James Slattery who had any real role in the movies plot line. Instead of just showing up in the end and, when the film was finally over, taking off their disguise revealing to the startled viewers just who they were playing.

Gethryn and Borg who both worked together in WWII against the Nazis team up to get to the bottom of what the late Adrian Messenger meant in his list of names and as the two check out the names one at a time.It turns out that all of them, with he exception of James Slattery, died mysteriously over the last five years. Trying to get to Slattery before the killer did the nutty and paranoid rummy gave the two the run around. Claiming that he's James brother Joe, who doesn't exist not who he really is James. Which in the end, with Gethryn & Borg giving up on him, lead to his death when the killer pushed him, wheelchair and all, off the docks and into the bay where he drowned.

The killer***SPOILERS***finally reveals himself at a fox-hunt at the estate of the Marquis of Gleneyre, Clive Brook, as his long dead brothers son George Brougham. And gaining his confidence and being excepted by the Marquis as a member of the family he then manically plans to do him in on the next fox-hunt. Where Brougham sets a trap for the old man, who's expected to be riding on the lead, at the end of hunt.

It now becomes crystal clear that the reason that the murderous George Brougham had murdered all the people on Messengers' list, as well as Messenger himself. In that they all knew about Bougham's treachery toward his fellow POW's whom they all happened to be. The one thing that all the men on Messengers' list had in common in being POW's in a brutal Japanese prison camp in Burma during WWII. With having them gotten out of the way Bougham is now trying to murder the Maquis of Gleneyer and make it look like an accident so he, as his nephew, can inherited his estate and all the riches and royalties that goes along with it. But there's one or two things that he never figured on and thats Gethryn & Borg and that in the end would be his undoing.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

29 May 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The List of Adrian Messenger See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Joel Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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