18 user 5 critic

The Winston Affair (1964)

Man in the Middle (original title)
Approved | | Drama, War | 5 February 1964 (USA)
In WW2,a US lieutenant stationed in India shoots dead a British NCO and admits his crime but his reason for the murder is so bizarre that it puzzles his defense counsel.


Guy Hamilton


Keith Waterhouse (screenplay), Willis Hall (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Lt. Col. Barney Adams
France Nuyen ... Kate Davray
Barry Sullivan ... General Kempton
Trevor Howard ... Major Kensington
Keenan Wynn ... Lieut. Winston
Sam Wanamaker ... Major Kaufman
Alexander Knox ... Colonel Burton
Gary Cockrell ... Lieut. Morse
Robert Nichols Robert Nichols ... Lieut. Bender
Michael Goodliffe ... Colonel Shaw
Errol John ... Sgt. Jackson
Paul Maxwell ... Major Smith
Lionel Murton Lionel Murton ... Capt. Gunther
Russell Napier ... Colonel Thompson
Jared Allen ... Capt. Dwyer


In India during WWII, a US officer confesses the murder of a UK officer. A military veteran is appointed to defend him. Everything looks simple, until he starts investigating the circumstances of the crime and realizes that facts don't fit. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most unusual chain of events that ever held your emotions at gun point.


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Trevor Howard receives a 'Guest Star' credit. See more »

Crazy Credits



Referenced in Il signor Quindicipalle (1998) See more »


Serenade in Blue
Music by Harry Warren
Played in the hotel bar
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User Reviews

WW II Allies drama of crime and justice
19 October 2015 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

"Man in the Middle" is a movie based on a 1959 novel by Howard Fast, "The Winston Affair." The basic plot of the movie follows fairly closely the story of the book. Hollywood altered some of the facts. Robert Mitchum plays Lt. Col. Barney Adams in the film. In the book, Adams is a captain. He is brought into India to be defense counsel in a hot trial of American Lt. Charles Winston, who shot and killed a British sergeant in cold blood. In the book, Winston shot a British officer. Since Winston admitted to the killing, and nearly a dozen witnesses saw it, it's an open-and-shut case. The American command wants Winston tried and executed. It's a matter of morale and "necessity" to bolster allied relations among the Americans and British. But, they want the appearance of a fair trial. So, Adams, a decorated combat veteran, is assigned as defense counsel.

The story is about the roadblocks Adams encounters in his quest to see that justice is served by giving Winston a fair trial. It makes for very good drama. The cast for this film is excellent. Mitchum's character seemed a little too nonchalant at first. But, that's partly Mitchum's persona, and it may reflect 18 years of service in which his man has learned to understand military "necessity." The other actors give excellent performances. Barry Sullivan is Gen. Kempton. Alexander Knox is great as the nervous Col. Burton. Sam Wanamaker is Maj. Kaufman. And, Trevor Howard is the British Major John Darryl Kensington. His scene is superb in the courtroom when Adams asks for his medical credentials. The major rattles off his degrees, honors, chairs and publications with a matter-of-fact air that only Trevor Howard could do. The looks on the faces of the court martial board members are telling and will bring a smile to a viewer's face

A couple reviewers saw Keenan Wynn's performance as Lt. Winston as exceptional, and I agree. It was worthy of an academy award nomination, but that didn't happen. On the other hand, the romantic aspect of the film, between Mitchum and France Nuyen as Kate Davray, doesn't click. It's OK for her to be in the story as a nurse, but not as a romance. Companionship and friendship would have been OK. But with them bedding down after just a couple of days, it lends a cheapness to the film. Is she just a hooker, or what? There is no love or romantic chemistry between them. The emotion she shows seems forced or contrived. It was a distraction in the film that lowered it at least one notch.

Movie buffs may be interested to know about other Howard Fast books made into movies. Fast's own background is quite interesting too. This film was the second of five novels by Fast to be made into a movie. The first was "Spartacus" in 1960 – a huge box office hit. After "Man in the Middle" came "Mirage" in 1965. It was based on his 1952 novel, "Fallen Angel." The last two had the titles of the novels. Fast wrote "April Morning" in 1961 and it was made into a move in 1987. "The Crossing" movie came out in 2000, based on Fast's 1971 novel of the same name.

Howard Fast (1914-2003) was a prolific writer and producer of books. Most of his work is historical fiction. He was highly popular and widely read. He may not be a household name today, but for the last six decades of the 20th century, Howard Fast was a well known writer. In the 1940s and 1950s, Fast was notoriously regarded for his communist leanings. His biography makes for very interesting reading. Fast was a writer and thinker who continued to defend the "every man" after he left the Communist Party in 1956. He and other American communists were fooled by the deceitful Soviet leadership under Stalin. Fast was well read and liked in Soviet Russia, and in 1953 he received the Stalin Peace Prize. In 1952, Fast ran for Congress on the American Labor Party ticket. By that time, the Labor party was mostly a front for the Communist Party.

During WW II, Fast worked for the U.S. Office of War Information, writing for the Voice of America. In 1943 he joined the Communist party. His obituary in "The Guardian" said that was a time when "The wartime love affair with the Soviet Union and the Red army was at its peak." Indeed, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration put out a great deal of propaganda in support of Soviet Russia. That was to build support for the U.S. having the Soviets as allies, and to encourage the Soviet Union to fight Nazi Germany. Fast learned that some of his Soviet friends had lied to him and others about the whereabouts of silent Soviet writers. Then, Nikita Kruschev addressed the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in a closed session on Feb 25, 1956. Kruschev denounced the deceased Joseph Stalin and gave a laundry list of Stalin's abuses of power including the Great Purge of the mid-1930s, the crushing of the Hungarian revolution, and imprisonment and killing of thousands of Russians. When they learned of the Kruschev speech, Fast and more than three- fourths of the American members left the Communist Party.

In a 1957 autobiography, "The Naked God: The Writer and the Communist Party," Fast wrote about how good people were lied to and betrayed by Stalin and his henchmen in the American Communist Party. So, having once been derided for his communist leanings, Fast was later attacked by the communists for his exposes of their atrocities and lies. I highly recommend any of Fast's biographies and Kruschev's "secret" speech -- they make very interesting reading.

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Release Date:

5 February 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Winston Affair See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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