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Customer Review

175 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest WW II films of the 1950s, December 27, 2002
This review is from: Man Who Never Was [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although the film was a ostensibly a 20th Century Fox production, THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS was filmed in England using primarily English crew and cast (though American leads). It belongs to a tradition of English war films in which aspects of the war are treated slowly, deliberately, and with great precision. While in the US war films tended to feature John Wayne leading Marines into combat, the British tended to focus much more on the preparation and plans of operations. For instance, the very fine film THE DAM BUSTERS features very little in the way of actual combat. And THE MAN WHO NEVER WAY has no combat whatsoever.
The movie is based on a book by the same name about Operation Mincemeat, in which the British attempted to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion spot for D-Day by planting a corpse with fake papers on a beach in Spain, knowing that the Spanish would pass the papers onto the Germans. The entire movie is involved with the formation of the plan, and then creating the man who never was, creating his papers and personal effects. On one level, not much happens in the film, but on another it is one of the most fascinating films ever made about the war, because of the practical problems they deal with in the executing of the operation. Knowing that it was all based upon real events greatly adds to the appeal of the film.
Clifton Webb, who was in fact far too old for the part, turns in a convincing performance as Lieutenant Commander Montagu. In most of his films he comes across as arrogant, but in this one he instead communicates competence and intelligence. Gloria Grahame is excellent as the primary female presence in the film. If you look carefully, you can spot Stephen Boyd in a small role, a few years before he would portray Messala in BEH-HUR.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2009 11:36:42 PM PST
Thank you sir for your fine review! I have been racking my brain for a couple of hours now trying to remember the title of this film/book, which I am going to bravely suggest is one of the top ten WWII films of all time. In my opinion, all pale in comparison to "Patton". What do you think? What's your favorite?

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 5:05:51 AM PDT
Stephen Boyd`s Character in the Movie was typical of many Irish nationals with the neutrality stance in WW II
Denying Sea port access for the Atlantic`s Convoy escort vessels, thereby enabling the Nazi U boats to slaughter thousands of brave sailors. For you "shirt tail" Irish in the USA. The Irish helped to kill thousands of Americans, drowning in fuel oil from the sinking ships. All in the name of "Neutality" They were stupid enough to think the Nazi`s would not slaughter them after the Fall of Brittain.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2013 12:51:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2013 12:52:24 PM PDT
R. Baer says:
My understanding is that, far from neutrality, the Irish active animosity to the Brits - a stance which Eroll Flynn also, apparently, took - was the catalyst for those who chose to aid the Axis.

Posted on Oct 3, 2015 6:19:17 AM PDT
I enjoyed your review, but I think it may have been awhile since you saw the movie. Stephen Boyd's role is not that small, and indeed the demonic menace he generates does a great deal to maintain the tension of the final third of the movie. It was not only one of his first movie roles, but one of his best performances.

Posted on Nov 25, 2015 11:14:06 AM PST
Sorry, but OPERATION MINCEMEAT had absolutely nothing to do with D-Day invasion, 6 June 1944; OPERATION MINCEMEAT had everything to do with the invasion of Sicily, 9 July 1943.

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2016 8:24:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 8, 2016 8:28:10 AM PDT
P. G. Croft says:
Exactly so---And, beyond comprehension, was the Irish Prime minister Eamon de Valera---visiting the German Embassy in Dublin, and signing the book of condolences, for the death of Adolf Hitler---even the German staff must have thought it in bad taste. A national shame that has been buried by the Irish. P G Croft UK
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Robert Moore
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Little Rock, AR USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 323