36 Hours (1964) starring James Garner

36Hrs_poster

In this psychological war-drama an Army Major is captured by the Germans during World War II. They attempt to brainwash him into believing the war is over and that he is safe in an Allied hospital, so that he will divulge Allied invasion plans.  -IMDB summary

Naturally charming, funny, handsome, and real-life hero (2 Purple Hearts in the Korean War)- James Garner is the protagonist of this WWII spy film. It was written/directed by George Seaton; the original story (Beware of the Dog) comes from Roald Dahl. Some of you know Garner as Mel Gibson’s cranky sparring partner (Maverick); others saw him regularly on TV (The Rockford Files).  But perhaps his MOST famous role was as the elderly Noah, the devoted husband in The Notebook.

Garner and Saint

This MUST-SEE film was shot in 1962 and released in 1964, BUT in black and white (which adds to its world-building). Garner is joined by two strong actors- Rod Taylor as Dr. Gerber (a jaded psychiatrist) and Eva Marie Saint as Anna (a steely nurse/concentration camp survivor).

Are you really an army sergeant?  -Jeff asks, incredulously

Regular army – no.  I am too old, too fat! Home guard.  We are patrolling the border so then the young, strong, and handsome men can go to Russia and freeze to death. Wonderful system, huh?  -Ernst replies w/ a big laugh

There are Germans in this tale that are NOT all bad, such as portly/jovial/cunning soldier, Ernst (John Banner), who provides terrific comedic moments in the last act of this otherwise serious film. 

I highly recommend this film (so am not going to give away TOO much)!  If you liked The Manchurian Candidate, then this is up your alley.

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