The Man Who Never Was

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"The most fiendish plot ever conceived! The most amazing "human being" ever created! The most diabolical phantom--"
  • NR
  • 1956
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.4  (5,751)

The Man Who Never Was is a 1956 drama film directed by Ronald Neame and starring Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame, and Robert Flemyng. The movie is a fictionalized account of Operation Mincemeat, a British intelligence operation during World War II that was designed to deceive the Germans into believing that the Allies were planning to invade Greece instead of Sicily.

The movie starts with the body of a man washing ashore in Spain. The man is later revealed to be Major William Martin, a fictional character created by British intelligence to deceive the Germans. Major Martin is a corpse that has been outfitted with false documents that incriminate the British government and suggest that the Allied invasion of Europe would take place in Greece instead of Sicily.

The story follows the people involved in the operation, particularly Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu (played by Clifton Webb), the mastermind behind the plan. Montagu is a lawyer and intelligence officer who is tasked with coming up with a plan to deceive the Germans. He recruits a team of experts to help him, including an actor (played by Robert Flemyng) who is tasked with playing the role of Major Martin's fiancé and a nurse (played by Gloria Grahame) who is responsible for keeping the corpse from decomposing.

The team faces numerous challenges along the way, including the discovery of Major Martin's real identity by the Germans, but they manage to pull off the operation successfully. The film ends with Montagu visiting Martin's grave and reflecting on the success of the plan.

One of the strengths of The Man Who Never Was is the attention to detail in the recreation of the operation. The false documents and letters created by the British intelligence are shown in great detail, and the actors do an excellent job of portraying the people involved in the operation. The movie also succeeds in conveying the tension and suspense of the situation, as the success of the operation depended on the convincing nature of the false documents and the ability of the team to keep the corpse from decomposing.

Another strong aspect of the movie is the performances of the lead actors. Clifton Webb is particularly impressive as Montagu, the mastermind behind the operation. He brings a sense of intelligence and determination to the role, and his performance is one of the highlights of the film. Robert Flemyng is also excellent as the actor tasked with playing Major Martin's fiancé, and Gloria Grahame is convincing as the nurse tasked with preserving the corpse.

Overall, The Man Who Never Was is a well-made, suspenseful movie that succeeds in conveying the intricacies and importance of Operation Mincemeat. It is a fascinating look at an important moment in British intelligence during World War II, and a reminder of the power of deception and subterfuge in times of war.

The Man Who Never Was
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (5,751)