The Impostor


1h 35m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
Passport to Dakar
Release Date
Feb 11, 1944
Premiere Information
World premiere in Washington, D.C.: 27 Jan 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,508ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

Clement, an unrepentant murderer, narrowly escapes the guillotine when a German bombing raid levels the prison in Tours, France. As the Nazis march on Paris, Clement joins some soldiers leaving the French capital to regroup in the south, and soon after, a German plane bombs their truck, killing most of the men. Clement steals the uniform and papers of Sergeant Maurice LaFarge, then assumes the dead soldier's identity. Along with the remains of the defeated French army, Clement arrives in the seacoast town of St. Jean De Luz, where he boards a freighter bound for Dakar, along with soldiers Bouteau, Hafner, Cochery and Monge. Learning that DeGalle is organizing a new army, the soldiers, led by Lieutenant Vareene, asks the captain to re-route the ship. The freighter then lands at Pointe Noire, in French Equatorial Africa, where the soldiers enlist in the Free French Army. Clement continually searches for ways to escape his new unit, but is soon promoted to adjutant by Vareene. The soldiers then head up the Congo on a steamship to Bangui, where they join a troop convoy and travel into the jungles of North Africa. Because of Hafner's expertise, the unit is ordered to set up a radio outpost, rather than join the troops fighting farther north in Libya. With no contact with the outside world other than radio reports and an occasional air shipment, the soldiers soon begin to get on each other's nerves. Vareene contracts jungle fever, and in a fit of madness, accidentally shoots Monge. To raise the spirits of the recovering Monge, the soldiers stage a Christmas celebration, during which they also express their gratitude to Clement for his leadership during Vareene's illness. After four months, the unit, except for the wounded Monge, is ordered to Brazzaville, and Clement is promoted to 2nd lieutenant. Along the way, they are attacked by a German patrol and assumed dead, but only Hafner is killed. While the three enlisted men return to their jungle outpost, a wounded Vareene is taken to the military hospital, where he meets Clauzel, a good friend of the real LaFarge. Clement, in the meantime, is decorated for his heroism and promoted to 1st lieutenant. Later, Yvonne, LaFarge's fiancée, arrives at the jungle outpost to visit her beloved, only to find Clement. The fugitive confesses all to her, but, after learning about Clement's bravery from his comrades, she decides to keep his secret. A celebration is then held at Fort Lamy to commemorate the first anniversary of Free French Army, honoring heroes like Clement. Clauzel is there as well, and recognizes the fugitive. He tells Vareene all, but the lieutenant refuses to do anything until Clement finds him and insists on confessing. During his courtmartial, Clement refuses to reveal his true identity, and is defended by Vareene, who points out his feats of heroism and rebirth of spirit. Clement is then stripped of his rank, demoted to private and sent to the Libyan front. There, Clement distinguishes himself one final time by sacrificing himself to destroy a machine-gun nest.

Film Details

Also Known As
Passport to Dakar
Release Date
Feb 11, 1944
Premiere Information
World premiere in Washington, D.C.: 27 Jan 1944
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,508ft (10 reels)

Articles

Ellen Drew, 1914-2003


Ellen Drew, a talented leading lady who was adept at handling light comedy or noirish thrillers, died of liver failure at her home on December 3rd in Palm Desert, California. She was 89.

She was born Esther Loretta "Terry" Ray on November 23, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri. The daughter of a barber, her family moved to Chicago when she was still an infant and she lived a very quiet childhood far removed from the glamour of Hollywood. She was encouraged by some friends to enter a beauty contest when she was just 17. After winning, she tried her luck in Hollywood, but found that they were no immediate offers for her particular talents.

She eventually took a waitressing job at C.C. Brown's, a famed Hollywood Boulevard soda fountain, and had virtually abandoned her dreams as a starlet when William Demarest, a popular actor's agent and well-known character actor, spotted her. Demarest arranged a screen test for her at Paramount, and she was promptly placed under contract for $50 a week.

For the first few years, (1936-38), Drew got only bit parts, and was often uncredited. When she finally got prominent billing in the Bing Crosby musical Sing You Sinners (1938), she decided to change her name, from Terry Ray to Ellen Drew. She earned her first major role in Frank Lloyd's If I Were King (1938) opposite Ronald Colman, yet for the most part of her career, rarely rose above "B" material and second leads. Still, she had some fine exceptions: Preston Sturges' enchanting comedy Christmas in July (1940), with Dick Powell; Tay Garnett's lighthearted war romp My Favorite Spy (1942) co-starring Kay Kyser; Julien Duvivier's taut The Imposter (1944), holding her own with a brooding Jean Gabin; and Mark Robson's chilling low-budget chiller Isle of the Dead (1945) opposite Boris Karloff. Drew made some notable television appearances in the late '50s including Perry Mason and The Barbara Stanwyck Show, before retiring from the entertainment industry. She is survived by her son David; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Ellen Drew, 1914-2003

Ellen Drew, 1914-2003

Ellen Drew, a talented leading lady who was adept at handling light comedy or noirish thrillers, died of liver failure at her home on December 3rd in Palm Desert, California. She was 89. She was born Esther Loretta "Terry" Ray on November 23, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri. The daughter of a barber, her family moved to Chicago when she was still an infant and she lived a very quiet childhood far removed from the glamour of Hollywood. She was encouraged by some friends to enter a beauty contest when she was just 17. After winning, she tried her luck in Hollywood, but found that they were no immediate offers for her particular talents. She eventually took a waitressing job at C.C. Brown's, a famed Hollywood Boulevard soda fountain, and had virtually abandoned her dreams as a starlet when William Demarest, a popular actor's agent and well-known character actor, spotted her. Demarest arranged a screen test for her at Paramount, and she was promptly placed under contract for $50 a week. For the first few years, (1936-38), Drew got only bit parts, and was often uncredited. When she finally got prominent billing in the Bing Crosby musical Sing You Sinners (1938), she decided to change her name, from Terry Ray to Ellen Drew. She earned her first major role in Frank Lloyd's If I Were King (1938) opposite Ronald Colman, yet for the most part of her career, rarely rose above "B" material and second leads. Still, she had some fine exceptions: Preston Sturges' enchanting comedy Christmas in July (1940), with Dick Powell; Tay Garnett's lighthearted war romp My Favorite Spy (1942) co-starring Kay Kyser; Julien Duvivier's taut The Imposter (1944), holding her own with a brooding Jean Gabin; and Mark Robson's chilling low-budget chiller Isle of the Dead (1945) opposite Boris Karloff. Drew made some notable television appearances in the late '50s including Perry Mason and The Barbara Stanwyck Show, before retiring from the entertainment industry. She is survived by her son David; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Passport to Dakar. Allyn Joslyn was borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. The viewed print bore the title Strange Confession, which was a television release title.