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  • 36 Hours
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36 Hours

91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Nazis capture an American spy just before D-Day and attempt to trick him into thinking the war is over so they can get details of the pending Allied invasion.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG
Release Date: 5-JUN-2007
Media Type: DVD

Amazon.com

WWII films of the '60s were often half caper-movie, with ornate and muscular missions behind enemy lines dreamed up by the likes of Alistair MacLean. The caper in 36 Hours (1965)--which was dreamed up by Roald Dahl--reverses the dynamics. A U.S. diplomatic courier (James Garner) with knowledge of the plans for D-Day is kidnapped, drugged, and taken to a sanatorium surrounded by forest. He wakes up in the presence of solicitous doctors and staff who seem to be fellow Americans and ever so happy to have him back after all those years in a coma. War's long over, of course; we won--and isn't it a good thing the Allies scrapped that first, wacky invasion plan they almost used? The plan maybe he still remembers?... 36 Hours is an intriguing thriller up to a point--and the moment when Garner catches on to the trick is a grabber--but George Seaton's direction is pedestrian and the production has a soundstage-y look. Rod Taylor takes acting honors as the sympathetic German psychiatrist in charge of the plot, under the suspicious eyes of SS man Werner Peters. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • James Garner war movies trailer gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor, Werner Peters, John Banner
  • Directors: George Seaton
  • Writers: George Seaton, Carl K. Hittleman, Luis H. Vance, Roald Dahl
  • Producers: James Garner, Gordon Cornell Layne, William Perlberg
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NTPG5C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,539 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "36 Hours" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 17, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
James Garner is excellent in this WWII thriller about Major Pike, a man who is drugged and kidnapped on a mission in Lisbon, which was a hub of intrigue during the war years. He is taken to an "American hospital" in Germany, where they tell him he has amnesia, and has been hospitalized for years, in hopes of getting information on where and when the Allied invasion will take place. With some hair dye and eye drops that blur his vision, and a newspaper that is dated "May 15, 1950", Maj. Pike is disoriented, and believes the elaborate hoax, but has an uneasy feeling that all is not as it seems.

The people who pretend to be "helping him" are Eva Marie Saint as his nurse, Anna, who has a numbered tattoo from Auschwitz, and will do anything not to be sent back there, and Rod Taylor as Major Gerber, the psychiatrist. Werner Peters is the evil SS Agent Schack, whose only interest is in his own promotion. The main thrust of the plot is how Maj. Pike is to survive, and how he can keep the Nazis in the dark about D-Day. There are a few twists to the story, which for the most part holds water, though there is a slight discrepancy that to me is now obvious, but I have seen this film countless times, and do not think I noticed it until the 3rd viewing.

The taut script is based on Roald Dahl's "Beware of the Dog", and the direction by George Seaton is nicely paced with many tense moments. Dimitri Tiomkin composed the soundtrack, and the black & white cinematography by Philip Lathrop was shot on location in Portugal, Germany and Yosemite National Park. Total running time is 115 minutes.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kevin R. Austra on October 8, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
In the category of War Films, this one is more of a thriller. James Garner stars as a kidnapped American officer who, while recovering in a military hospital, is led to believe that he is suffering from amnesia. The key to his recovery is to recall the details of the Allied invasion France. The twist is that Nazi's actually have him captive and have set up an elaborate charade to convince Garner that the war has been over for years in hopes of discovering the Normandy invasion plans.

Rod Taylor plays the part of a German doctor masquarading as an American doctor attempting to coax memories from Garner. Taylor's character is very sympathetic to Garner's plight and half heartedly attempts to draw the information from him. Although Taylor's character is that of a German playing the part of an American, it is difficult to see him as anything but an American. This is even more suprising as Taylor was Australian.

Eva Marie Saint plays Garner's attending nurse who is torn between assisting Garner and keeping herself out of a concentration camp.

Werner Peters reprises his oft-played role as a Nazi officer. You have seen him play virtually the same role in THE COUNTERFEIT TRAITOR, THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, and THE SECRET WAR OF HARRY FRIGG. In 36 HOURS he is bent on rushing the carefully scipted amnesia scenario and cracking Garner in order to discover the D-Day invasion plans. In doing so he shows his true colors as a self serving and glory seeking individual. He explains this to the German doctor when he blatantly admits that any failure will be blamed on the doctor whereas success will lauded on Peters.

Actor John Banner also makes a pre-Hogan's Heroes appearance in this film.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lars Sandell on May 30, 2007
Format: DVD
Please note: The two stars above do not indicate my verdict on the film itself, but rather the odd transfer to DVD provided by the folks at Warner Home Video. For most of the running time this DVD looks just fine, with a good grey scale, fine contrast and a sharp image. Thankfully, white speckles are also quite absent, which is certainly not always the case when it comes to transfers of classic product from Warner.

But in almost all of the darker scenes throughout the film, the focus goes way off, especially damaging in the right half of the screen. And when it comes to the final escape sequence with Garner and Saint, this irritating double contour softness continues for half a reel or so, effectively ruining much of the suspense.

If this problem is a defect that exists on all surviving materials in the film vaults, then Warner should have had the decency to warn potential consumers with at least a sticker on the cover. But my guess is that this blurry jinx could have been corrected with some proper quality attention before the discs were made and distributed. If Warner have the guts and will, they ought to recall this DVD pronto before its domestic street date on June 5, and make a hopefully new transfer available as soon as possible.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cory D. Slipman on October 20, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
James Garner stars as Major Jeff Pike, a U.S. Army intelligence officer in possession of critical information concerning the Allied invasion of Europe. In a well conceived plot, courtesy of a story from the imagination of Roald Dahl, Garner is abducted from a meeting in neutral Lisbon.

Garner is transported, heavily sedated, to Germany to partake in an elaborate hoax propagated by loyal and intellectual Nazi psychiatrist, Major Gerber played by Rod Taylor. To glean sensitive details of the attack, Garner is made to believe that six years have elapsed, the war is over and that he's been suffering from amnesia. In a bogus U.S. hospital setting in alleged occupied Germany, Taylor is given 36 hours to extract the information before diabolical SS Colonel Schack played by Werner Peters will use more aggresive interrogation techniques.

The charade is enhanced by Eva Narie Saint playing nurse Anna Hedler who is actually a concentration camp survivor aiding Taylor to maintain her freedom. The wily Garner soon sees through the plot and with the aid of Saint, escapes after muddling up the scheme.

Peters and Taylor, at odds throughout the film eventually have a showdown after the principled Taylor helps Saint and Garner escape. Col. Schack is obsessed with their recapture as the try to cross the border into Switzerland. Garner and Saint are aided by an entrepreneurial German homeguard Sergeant Ernst played by none other than John Banner, better known as Hogan's Heroes unforgetable Sgt. Schultz.
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