The Double Man


1h 45m 1968
The Double Man

Brief Synopsis

Russian secret service officials attempts to kidnap a CIA officer and replace him with a double of its own.

Film Details

Also Known As
Legacy of a Spy
Genre
Thriller
Spy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Portland, Oregon, opening: 3 Apr 1968
Production Company
Albion Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Legacy of a Spy by Henry S. Maxfield (New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

When CIA agent Dan Slater is informed by his old friend and former CIA agent Frank Wheatly of his son's death in a skiing accident, he leaves immediately for the Austrian Alps to determine the cause of the accident. Convinced that his son's death was not accidental, Slater begins making inquiries and learns that a woman and two men were skiing in the same vicinity on the day of the accident. While conducting his investigation, Slater is followed by two East German agents, Colonel Berthold and Gregori, who have orders to capture Slater and replace him with a Soviet double. The discovery of his son's bloody skiing parka reinforces Slater's suspicions, and he continues his quest despite Washington's insistence that he return to his post. Slater finds Gina Ericson, the woman who was skiing the day his son died, and she tells him that Max Gruner was one of the men skiing that day. Taking Wheatly along, Slater drives out to Gruner's farmhouse but is greeted there by an armed Gregori. Hearing gunshot, Wheatly panics and drives off; but once his fear has subsided, he returns for Slater, unaware that the East Germans have replaced his friend with Kalmar, an enemy agent who, through plastic surgery, is an exact double for Slater. When Kalmar, posing as Slater, accuses Wheatly of framing him, Wheatly instead suggests that it was Gina who set up the confrontation with enemy agents. After brutally beating Gina, Kalmar returns to the farmhouse for Slater. Driven off for his execution, Slater bolts from the car and begins to climb the ski mountain to confront and kill his double. Wheatly intervenes, and each of the two men attempts to convince him that he is the real Slater. When the false Slater betrays himself by evincing parental concern for his dead son, Wheatly shoots him. The real Slater, Wheatly observes, has never been capable of genuine emotion.

Film Details

Also Known As
Legacy of a Spy
Genre
Thriller
Spy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Portland, Oregon, opening: 3 Apr 1968
Production Company
Albion Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Legacy of a Spy by Henry S. Maxfield (New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

The Double Man


When he wasn't playing pharaohs, potentates, pirate kings and other larger-than-life roles that suited his startling physical presence and aristocratic mien, Russian-born Hollywood actor Yul Brynner found a comfortable second home in espionage thrillers that were all the rage in the wake of Eon Productions' profitable James Bond films (beginning in 1962 with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery) and the small screen success of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (which began its short but influential run in 1964). In the Warner Brothers release The Double Man (1967), Brynner plays the dual role of a career CIA op who travels to Austria upon learning of the death of his son in a presumed skiing accident... and the enemy agent sculpted by plastic surgery into his doppelgänger. With his immaculately shaved head and ears of Pan, Brynner makes for a less than credible spy, given the anonymity required of the intelligence game, but the actor's natural reticence and grace suits a character that has had to get by for years on instinct and cat-like cunning.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner in classy B-movie mode prior to the veteran filmmaker's ascendency to such A-list properties as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Patton (1970), The Double Man is a solid programmer meant to do a week's business before being replaced by something else equally professional, entertaining and disposable. (The film was sent into general release on a double bill with Lamont Johnson's Kona Coast, 1968.) The production went before the cameras around the same time as Eon's You Only Live Twice (beating it to the box office by three months in 1967) - in fact, Sean Connery posed with Brynner for a photo op at Pinewood Studios during filming in July 1966 - and also got the jump on the Bond series next entry, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), by setting its action against a backdrop of ski slope chic. Padding through his role(s) with an economy of emotion, Brynner is believable in man of action mode yet equally persuasive in a quiet moment set on a movie train in which his character examines the bloody parka taken from the body of his dead son and deduces that the boy's death was no accident.

The Double Man went into production as Legacy of a Spy, the title of Henry S. Maxfield's source novel. The slim volume had garnered praise from both The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times upon publication in 1958, with critic Robert Kirsch branding Maxfield as "better than Ian Fleming." Though the novel was considered state of the art for its time, the concept of a protagonist haunted by his exact double was a conceit that dated at least as far back as the Gothic novel, with advancements and variations leading from there to Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Evil twins and duplicates were a popular trope during the 1960s. A faux 007 was killed as part of a SPECTRE training exercise early into From Russia with Love (1963) while secret agent Napoleon Solo and soldier of fortune Roger "Race" Cannon were both guyed by enemy agents in episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Jonny Quest. A duplicate President of the United States was a plot point of In Like Flint (1967) and lookalikes bedeviled the leads of such popular American TV series as Star Trek, Bewitched, The Wild Wild West, and even Bonanza.

The Double Man benefits from vivid supporting performances by Clive Revill (as Brynner's possibly unreliable partner), Lloyd Nolan (as a wheelchair-bound CIA executive), Anton Diffring (Brynner's equal in icy disaffection), and Britt Ekland, whose then-husband Peter Sellers (with whom she had just appeared in the failed spoof Casino Royale [1967], also concerned with multiple bogus Bonds) was convinced she was having an affair with her leading man. Also worth noting are the fleeting contributions of Kenneth J. Warren, Ronald Radd, David Healy (also in You Only Live Twice and, later, Diamonds Are Forever, 1971) and, in an uncredited bit, Irish actress Bee Duffell (who had made an impression the year before as an unrepentant bibliophile who chooses to be burned alive with her books in Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, 1966). Though The Double Man relies heavily on process shots, the cinematography of Denys Coop (Billy Liar [1963], Bunny Lake Is Missing [1965]) gives location footage a sense of natural majesty while Ernie Freeman's punchy jazz score tips the proceedings occasionally in the direction of Cold War kitsch.

Producer: Hal E. Chester
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Writers: Frank Tarloff, Alfred Hayes (based on a novel by Henry S. Maxfield)
Music: Ernie Freeman
Cinematography: Denys Coop
Editor: Richard Best
Art Direction: Arthur Lawson
Cast: Yul Brynner (Dan Slater/Kalmar), Clive Revill (Frank Wheatley), Britt Ekland (Gina), Anton Diffring (Berthold), Moira Lister (Mrs. Carrington), Lloyd Nolan (Edwards), George Mikell (Max), Brandon Brady (Gregori), Julia Arnall (Anna), David Bauer (Miller), Ronald Radd (General), Kenneth J. Warren (Police Chief), David Healy (Halstead), Bee Duffell (Woman on Train), Franklin J. Schaffner (Man at Train Station).
C-105m.

by Richard Harland Smith
The Double Man

The Double Man

When he wasn't playing pharaohs, potentates, pirate kings and other larger-than-life roles that suited his startling physical presence and aristocratic mien, Russian-born Hollywood actor Yul Brynner found a comfortable second home in espionage thrillers that were all the rage in the wake of Eon Productions' profitable James Bond films (beginning in 1962 with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery) and the small screen success of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (which began its short but influential run in 1964). In the Warner Brothers release The Double Man (1967), Brynner plays the dual role of a career CIA op who travels to Austria upon learning of the death of his son in a presumed skiing accident... and the enemy agent sculpted by plastic surgery into his doppelgänger. With his immaculately shaved head and ears of Pan, Brynner makes for a less than credible spy, given the anonymity required of the intelligence game, but the actor's natural reticence and grace suits a character that has had to get by for years on instinct and cat-like cunning. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner in classy B-movie mode prior to the veteran filmmaker's ascendency to such A-list properties as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Patton (1970), The Double Man is a solid programmer meant to do a week's business before being replaced by something else equally professional, entertaining and disposable. (The film was sent into general release on a double bill with Lamont Johnson's Kona Coast, 1968.) The production went before the cameras around the same time as Eon's You Only Live Twice (beating it to the box office by three months in 1967) - in fact, Sean Connery posed with Brynner for a photo op at Pinewood Studios during filming in July 1966 - and also got the jump on the Bond series next entry, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), by setting its action against a backdrop of ski slope chic. Padding through his role(s) with an economy of emotion, Brynner is believable in man of action mode yet equally persuasive in a quiet moment set on a movie train in which his character examines the bloody parka taken from the body of his dead son and deduces that the boy's death was no accident. The Double Man went into production as Legacy of a Spy, the title of Henry S. Maxfield's source novel. The slim volume had garnered praise from both The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times upon publication in 1958, with critic Robert Kirsch branding Maxfield as "better than Ian Fleming." Though the novel was considered state of the art for its time, the concept of a protagonist haunted by his exact double was a conceit that dated at least as far back as the Gothic novel, with advancements and variations leading from there to Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson" and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Evil twins and duplicates were a popular trope during the 1960s. A faux 007 was killed as part of a SPECTRE training exercise early into From Russia with Love (1963) while secret agent Napoleon Solo and soldier of fortune Roger "Race" Cannon were both guyed by enemy agents in episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Jonny Quest. A duplicate President of the United States was a plot point of In Like Flint (1967) and lookalikes bedeviled the leads of such popular American TV series as Star Trek, Bewitched, The Wild Wild West, and even Bonanza. The Double Man benefits from vivid supporting performances by Clive Revill (as Brynner's possibly unreliable partner), Lloyd Nolan (as a wheelchair-bound CIA executive), Anton Diffring (Brynner's equal in icy disaffection), and Britt Ekland, whose then-husband Peter Sellers (with whom she had just appeared in the failed spoof Casino Royale [1967], also concerned with multiple bogus Bonds) was convinced she was having an affair with her leading man. Also worth noting are the fleeting contributions of Kenneth J. Warren, Ronald Radd, David Healy (also in You Only Live Twice and, later, Diamonds Are Forever, 1971) and, in an uncredited bit, Irish actress Bee Duffell (who had made an impression the year before as an unrepentant bibliophile who chooses to be burned alive with her books in Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, 1966). Though The Double Man relies heavily on process shots, the cinematography of Denys Coop (Billy Liar [1963], Bunny Lake Is Missing [1965]) gives location footage a sense of natural majesty while Ernie Freeman's punchy jazz score tips the proceedings occasionally in the direction of Cold War kitsch. Producer: Hal E. Chester Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Writers: Frank Tarloff, Alfred Hayes (based on a novel by Henry S. Maxfield) Music: Ernie Freeman Cinematography: Denys Coop Editor: Richard Best Art Direction: Arthur Lawson Cast: Yul Brynner (Dan Slater/Kalmar), Clive Revill (Frank Wheatley), Britt Ekland (Gina), Anton Diffring (Berthold), Moira Lister (Mrs. Carrington), Lloyd Nolan (Edwards), George Mikell (Max), Brandon Brady (Gregori), Julia Arnall (Anna), David Bauer (Miller), Ronald Radd (General), Kenneth J. Warren (Police Chief), David Healy (Halstead), Bee Duffell (Woman on Train), Franklin J. Schaffner (Man at Train Station). C-105m. by Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Great Britain and Austria. Released in Great Britain in 1967. The working title of this film is Legacy of a Spy.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 1967

Released in United States Spring May 1967