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The Man Who Never Was

The Man Who Never Was(1956)

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The film opens with the image of a body washing up on shore. Over this image an offscreen narrator reads an excerpt from the Scottish ballad "The Battle of Otterburn": "Last night I dreamed a deadly dream/Beyond the Isle of Skye/I saw a dead man win a fight/And I think that man was I." This poem also closes the film. Onscreen credits end with the written disclaimer: "Military security and respect for a solemn promise have made it necessary to disguise the identity of some of the characters in this film, but in all other essentials this is the true story of 'Major William Martin'."
       According to a February 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Ewen Montagu's novel, intending to have Nunnally Johnson script and produce the property. Montagu based his novel on a scheme he devised to deceive the Germans while he was a lieutenant commander in British Naval Intelligence. According to the Variety review, the scene in which the body washes up on shore was filmed in Spain. Although the Daily Variety review states that the film used the De Luxe color process, the Variety review states that the color process was Eastman Color. A June 1980 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that British actor Peter Sellers provided the offscreen voice of Winston Churchill.