Cast & Crew
Igor Gouzenko, a former Soviet cipher clerk in the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, is living peacefully in Quebec with his wife Katya and their children, and has assumed a new identity. After Gouzenko's book about his defection is published, his publisher, Victor Collier, tells him that another Russian agent, Volov, wishes to defect, but first wants to meet with Gouzenko. Although Collier advises against the meeting, Gouzenko agrees. Unknown to Collier and Gouzenko, Volov has actually been directed by the Soviets to carry through a plot to kill Gouzenko. When the meeting between Volov and Gouzenko is scheduled to take place, the Canadian police secretly follow him to the rendezvous spot. As Volov approaches Gouzenko and draws his gun, the police are ready to move in, but instead of shooting Gouzenko, Volov opens his gun and turns it over to Gouzenko, along with the names of Soviet spies still operating in Canada.
Westbrook Van Voorhees
The film's working title was Man in Hiding. Igor Gouzenko (1919-1982) was a Soviet cipher clerk in the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. Gouzenko, who defected to the Canadian government in 1945 and was credited with uncovering a Soviet spy ring, was also the subject of the 1948 Twentieth Century-Fox film The Iron Curtain, directed by William A. Wellman and starring Dana Andrews as Gouzenko and Gene Tierney as his wife (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Operation Manhunt takes up the story of the Gouzenkos after the defection, when they lived with new identities, under the protection of the Canadian government.
According to reviews and information in copyright files, Gouzenko appeared on camera in the film's epilogue but was wearing a hood that completely hid his face. [Although the Time review stated that Gouzenko wore a black hood, photographs in the copyright file show a white hood.] According to the pressbook contained in copyright records, in order to preserve the Gouzenko family's safety, when Gouzenko's scene was filmed, only the producer, director, cameraman and two electricians were in the studio.
According to a May 1955 news item in Daily Variety, the film was banned by the British Board of Film Censors for violence and brutality when it was reviewed for release in Britain. The article stated that producer Fred Feldkamp was surprised by the move and accused the censor board of banning the film for "political reasons," based on a letter from the board to the producer, asking him "to remove from the film any idea that the Soviet Embassy or Russian officials were involved or had any association with Gouzenko himself." Although the exact resolution of the dispute has not been ascertained, the film was released in Britain under the title High Crimes.
As noted in reviews, Operation Manhunt was filmed entirely on location in Quebec, Canada. Locations listed in the presskit include Montreal, Ste. Adele and St. Helene's Island. Some interiors were filmed in the Laurentian and Mount Royal Hotels and at the Inn at Ste. Adele. American actor Harry Townes made his feature film debut in Operation Manhunt. Many of the actors in the film were popular, Montreal-based film and theatrical performers. Albert Miller was an alternate stage name used by noted Canadian folksinger and radio personality Alan Mills. Modern sources credit David Cazelet as the film editor and Jack Shaindlin as the music director of Operation Manhunt.