The Man Who Never Was, British Intelligence during World War II is trying to get the German High Command to shift its forces away from Italy prior to the invasion. To create the illusion that Britain is in fact planning to invade Greece, they plan to procure a dead body, plant secret papers on it, and arrange for the Spanish authorities to find it and send the papers on to the Germans. That’s the plan, anyway. First they have to find a body that will look drowned, then create an identity for it that will pass German scrutiny. Based on a true story.
Very professionally done!
The Man Who Never Was, The story is true, which gives it power and makes it more interesting. But what really captivated me was the utterly superb directing. Each scene is so well balanced and then flows with such continuity into the next, and on and on. You almost feel as if you are right there witnessing it all.
But that’s not all. The lighting, color, props, nuances, everything in the film, are in perfect harmony at all times. But what of the actors? They indeed render excellent performances. But they, too, are so masterfully directed, they never fail in conveying the mood and tone, even the undertone, from start to finish.
Then Gloria Grahame has a weepy scene where she evolves ever so masterfully from recall of emotional trauma, to reliving the trauma, to gradually bringing out true tears at the most perfect “rate of flow.” I have never seen better crying! Knowing that she has also played light comedy reveals even deeper dimensions of her acting ability, to see her go from straight-faced to really weeping, then genuinely prolonged sobbing.
Even if the story were not captivating, the directing and photography will catch your eye and you will not be able to flip the channel until this production masterpiece is over.