TV Cream

Films: M is for...

Man Who Never Was, The

We haven’t seen this in ages and had convinced ourselves that John Mills was in it, but of course, he isn’t – which is rather a shock. Was he busy at the time? Anyway, it’s another outing for the plot that demonstrated that the top brass could be devilish cunning when they decided to try and detract attention from the landings in Sicily by letting a body wash up near enemy lines with fake papers attached. With Andre ‘Quatermass’ Morell, Cyril Cusack, Michael ‘How does he do that?’ Hordern, Miles Malleson, Allan Cuthberston and Joan ‘I’ve left my washing machine on’ Hickson involved, it can’t go wrong, and it doesn’t. Top hole.



  1. Matt Patton

    August 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Based on a book of the same title by Ewen Montagu who cooked up the whole plot — codenamed “Mincemeat.” The story has been given a fuller airing in the recent book OPERATION MINCEMEAT by Ben McIntryre, which includes all of the stuff that Montagu had to leave out of his book for security reasons. And things that Montagu didn’t know, such as the fact that his brother Ivor was a Soviet spy and was stealing secrets out of his briefcase and leaking them to Moscow. By the way, Montagu has a cameo in this film as a skeptical naval officer who has something of a confrontation with Clifton Webb, who was playing — Ewen Montagu . . .

  2. Richardpd

    January 1, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    The fifth columnist sub-plot didn’t happen in real life, & was only inserted as the operation went so smoothly.

    It helped that the German chain of command all the way up to Hitler were convinced the plans were genuine, helped by a Spanish double agent who managed to win medals from both sides.

  3. THX 1139

    January 1, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    A remake is due in cinemas this year, too.

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