# Similar Movies Like 36 Hours
36 Hours 1964
Description: Germans kidnap an American major and test to convince him that Globe Fight II is over, so that they can receive features about the Allied invasion of Europe out of him.
Released: 19 Feb 1965 Director: George Seaton Writers: George Seaton (screenplay), Roald Dahl (story "Beware of the Dog"), Carl K. Hittleman (story), Luis H. Vance (story) Actors: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor, Werner Peters Genres: Thriller, War
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36 Hours Reviews:

36 Hours is a beautifully made thriller about an American major captured by the Germans in Globe Fight II not long before D-Day, and who is drugged and made to age artificially, so that when he wakes up he thinks five years have passed, that the fight is over, and that the Americans won. A fake military hospital was made to convince him that this is so, finished with fake newspapers, reporting on the activities of President Wallace, with references to the retired FDR vacationing happily in Warm Springs. The concept behind it all is to receive the major to spill the beans about where the Allied units were going to land in France (indeed, the major does know this, and the Germans know he knows). In this respect the film is based cute much on fact. The Germans knew that there was going to be an Allied invasion of the Continent, most likely in France,--but where? Most of the German high command expected the Allies to land in Calais, but they weren't sure. Everything hinged on outfoxing the Allies, so that the Germans would be prepared for what they knew was going to be a heavy invasion. But back to the movie: a friendly-seeming doctor, excellently played by Rod Taylor, explains to his "patient", quite convincingly, how he came to "lose" five years of his life. The race is on to search out the truth, only at first the major doesn't know it. He believes what the doctor says him; but the doctor has his problems, too, which is how to tactfully receive the notification he needs from his "patient" (actually his captive) without the major knowing it.James Garner is fine as the major; so nice in fact as to create me wonder why his film career wasn't more successful. Eva Marie Saint is her usual dignified self as the "love interest", though I found her character, once the truth is revealed about her background, difficult to believe. Taylor's doctor is much more interesting, but alas gets less screen time. His hero is ambiguous; a German-American who has returned to his homeland, where he has managed to receive funds to do research, and who is slowly but surely becoming disenchanted with his Nazi superiors. The film works like a charm for its first roughly two thirds and then falls off somewhat near the end, for reasons I won't give away. Overall, though, this is a very satisfying and somewhat neglected film. Though it doesn't appear to be made on a large budget it's very nice in recreating the wartime mood, and in this respect wonderfully retro. It probably seemed a bit old-fashioned when it came out, when James Bond was all the rage; but time has been type to it, and it plays better today than many of the more hip, sexy films of the Austin Powers sixties.


George Seaton had already written and directed the very impressive The Counterfeit Traitor when he turned his attention to this absorbing and cleverly-plotted thriller. Once again the movie is set during WWII and once again Seaton weaves an exciting storyline vs the backcloth of that intriguing and terrifying period of history.Major Jefferson Pike (James Garner) is an American intelligence officer who is kidnapped and drugged en route to Lisbon during the days approaching the D-Day Landings. Pike's original point before his capture was to pass on misleading notification to the Germans, intended to trick them into expecting the Allies to storm ashore at Calais rather than the current intended goal zone of the Normandy beaches. When Pike awakens, he is unknowingly in a secret compound in Bavaria, and the D-Day attack is still 36 hours away from now taking place. He is said by disguised Nazi spy, Major Walter Gerber (Rod Taylor), that the fight is over and that he has been suffering from amnesiac lapses for the past six years. Gerber's plan is to convince Pike that the fight ended years previously with Allied win and that it is secure to reveal features about the D-Day Landings.... features which would, in fact, be very helpful to the German forces in the hours approaching the top-secret Allied attack.It is a very interesting plot, and is well-handled. Rod Taylor's performance as the slippery Nazi trickster is exceptionally good, while Garner handles his slightly dull role (as the character with sensitive notification which he is unsure about revealing) with efficiency. The crisp black and white photography - unusual for a movie made in the Technicolour-obsessed '60s - adds to the film's verisimilitude and sense of period, giving it a documentary-like feel. While the proceedings are stretched out to a rather lengthy 115 minutes, the movie doesn't become significantly tedious and manages to hold the viewer excited (even though we know, because of the real-life success of the D-Day invasion, that the audacious Nazi plot is doomed to fail). 36 Hours is a solid, suspenseful yarn which could satisfy anyone who enjoys stories about wartime intrigue and audacious masquerades.


Really enjoyed this film, an engaging mix of psychological banter with pre-D-Day espionage tension. The greatest scenes for me were the dialogues between James Garner and Rod Taylor, they'd create a nice movie on their own. Garner has that nice combination of intellect and machismo - he can debate the moral aspect of duty and then knock out a guard just as convincingly Eva Marie Saint's performance is very powerful too as the concentration-camp victim unable to express emotion after the trauma that she has experienced. The power of Roald Dahl's writing comes through here, as she acts as a constant reminder to us of the grim realities of the fight in the context of the another charismatic characters.



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