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36 Hours (1964)

Approved | | Thriller, War | 19 February 1965 (USA)
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2:52 | Trailer
Germans kidnap an American major and try to convince him that World War II is over, so that they can get details about the Allied invasion of Europe out of him.

Director:

George Seaton

Writers:

George Seaton (screenplay), Roald Dahl (story "Beware of the Dog") | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Major Jefferson Pike
Eva Marie Saint ... Anna Hedler
Rod Taylor ... Major Walter Gerber
Werner Peters ... Otto Schack
John Banner ... Ernst
Russell Thorson ... General Allison
Alan Napier ... Colonel Peter MacLean
Oscar Beregi Jr. ... Lt. Colonel Ostermann (as Oscar Beregi)
Ed Gilbert ... Captain Abbott
Sig Ruman ... German Guard
Celia Lovsky ... Elsa
Karl Held Karl Held ... Corporal Kenter
Martin Kosleck ... Kraatz
Marjorie Bennett ... Charwoman
Henry Rowland Henry Rowland ... German Soldier
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Storyline

In this psychological war-drama an Army Major is captured by the Germans during World War II. They attempt to brainwash him into believing the war is over and that he is safe in an Allied hospital, so that he will divulge Allied invasion plans. Written by Patrick Dominick <p-dominick@adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wildest Spy Adventure A Man Ever Lived! See more »

Genres:

Thriller | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Portuguese | French

Release Date:

19 February 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thirty Six Hours See more »

Filming Locations:

Lisbon, Portugal See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The writing credits not only claim Roald Dahl's short story, "Beware Of The Dog", as the source of the plot, but also an original film story by Luis Vance and Carl K. Hittleman. It has been suggested that MGM bought the Vance-Hittleman plot whilst unaware of the Dahl story, also unknown to the writers and director George Seaton. However, when the script was coincidentally offered to Dahl's wife, Patricia Neal, she spotted the resemblance straight away and brought it to her husband's attention. (She turned down the female lead, which went to Eva Marie Saint). MGM was required to pay a large sum for the film rights of Dahl's very brief story to avoid a lawsuit. See more »

Goofs

The postcard from Lisbon reads "Sudações de Lisboa". It should be "Saudações" instead. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Walter Gerber: I think deep down you wanted to be caught.
Anna Hedler, Nurse: Why?
Maj. Walter Gerber: Guilt cries out for punishment - punishment as a specific cure for a feverish conscience.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM 40th Anniversary (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

March: News of the Day
(uncredited)
Music by John Rochetti
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Skeptical About Information Not Obtained Under Torture
26 July 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

36 Hours is a film that finds James Garner as a major attached to Allied intelligence and to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in London. The best kept secret of World War II was the exact date and location of the cross channel invasion into western Europe. As things get closer to D-Day, the Allies want to make sure the Nazis stay fooled right up to the end.

Which is why Garner goes to Lisbon to check out a source at the German Embassy in neutral Portugal. But the Nazis have been watching him too. While in Lisbon, he meets up with a Mr. Michael Finn at a hotel bar rendezvous which renders him unconscious and Garner is secretly flown to Germany.

The nice things about 36 Hours is that some of the facts about the landings at Normandy are woven very nicely into an intricate espionage story. Incidentally some of the same facts that were used in another Garner classic film, The Americanization of Emily, but in a far more comic vein.

What the Nazis have decided to do is trick Garner into revealing the plans for the imminent invasion. They've set up an elaborate facade of a US. Army Hospital in an occupied Germany in 1950 and when Garner wakes up, they're going to convince him that the war is over and the allies have been victorious. They've even cooked up a love interest in Eva Marie Saint who is formerly a concentration camp inmate and like all of them will do anything to avoid going back.

All this is the brainchild of German doctor Rod Taylor who is convinced that without the usual Nazi like methods Garner can be tricked into revealing vital information. Skeptical about the plan, but willing to go along with it if it succeeds is SS major Werner Peters who played a lovely variety of Nazis in the Sixties.

Of course when Garner does realize this is all a charade it becomes quite a three cornered cat and mouse game between him and Taylor and Peters. The SS has a tried and true motto, they're skeptical in general about information not obtained under torture.

36 Hours is a finely executed espionage and escape drama. The cast is at they're combined very best. But as good as the ones I've mentioned, there is one stunningly droll performance by John Banner, soon to become Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes. He plays a German version of Dad's Army and he's one of the older generation that hasn't bought into the Nazi way. He's the best in this fine film.


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