36 Hours

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Thriller, War
Director(s): George Seaton
115 min

The British Isles are fast becoming

the greatest arsenal in the history of man.

Farms, where once sheep and cattle grazed,

are now storage depots for tanks...

...and planes and guns.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are

training and waiting for that fateful day...

...when Allied power will be unleashed

against Nazi-dominated Europe.

That an invasion is forthcoming

is now an accepted fact.

But where and when is known

only to a handful of men.

So far, the time and place is

the best-kept military secret of the war.

There is one man

who would like to know...

...and is making every effort

to find out.

And the Allied High Command

is working just as diligently...

...to discover what preparations Hitler

has made and how much he does know.

- Here, keep it.

- Thank you very much, sir.

- Good evening, Pike.

- Major.

- Oh, good evening, Major Pike.

- Hi, Ted.

Thank you.

So you see, Jeff, von Rundstedt

is running the whole show...

...and seems to be listening

only to von Rundstedt.

It appears that he's putting all his chips

on the Pas de Calais.

Mac, you amaze me.

Over 300,000 men waiting for us

at the wrong place and you're worried.

Well, this business is

very much like marriage, Jeff.

When things are going along too smoothly,

you can't help but be a bit suspicious.

But every German general since Clausewitz

called this the only possible invasion route.

Dover to Calais. It's the shortest

distance across the Channel.

Good beaches, good harbor,

maximum air cover.

Leads right to the Ruhr Valley

and the heart of Germany.

It makes sense, Mac.

Maybe we have fooled them.

It makes better sense

to assume we haven't.

But look at their

disposition of troops.

Over 60 divisions here

and only nine at Normandy.

- Pin?

- No, one of those damn paper cuts.

I sliced it on the edge of the map.

Like a razor.

Now, where's their greatest strength?

Right here, the 15th army at Calais.

But will it stay there?

Supposing all these comforting

bits of information we've picked up...

...were leaked to us deliberately?

Supposing they've known all along?

Supposing at the last possible moment...

...after we've committed ourselves,

the 15th moves to back up Normandy?

Come in.

Colonel, the general's office just called.

He can see you now, sir.


We've got to find out if

they're playing games with us, major.

We haven't much time.

Monday is the 5th.

Do you think your contact in Lisbon

might know anything?

Maybe. I doubt it. He's only a clerk

in the German Embassy.

- He was right about Torch.

- He was awfully wrong about Anzio.

Mac tells me

you felt that was deliberate.

I don't think

he's working for German Intelligence.

I think they know

he's working for us.

Whenever they wanna mislead us...

...they make it easy for him

to find some false information.

They leave a file open,

let him overhear a conversation.

They feed him enough unimportant authentic

stuff to make us think he's dependable.

But you've always been able to

determine which is which.

Yeah, it's not so much

what he tells me, but how.

If he's positive and expensive,

I can be sure it's a fake.

Which makes him trustworthy and reliable,

in a reverse sort of a way.

So if we find

he's absolutely certain it's Calais?

Guarantees it, swears on

his mother's grave and asks $ 1000...

We can be reasonably sure

they know about Normandy.

You can make book on it.

Sit down, sit down.

I think it's worth feeling him out, major.

Well, he'll only talk to me, sir.

That's why

I'm sending you back to Lisbon.

Well, now that I know

the details of the invasion...

...and maybe they know I know...

...what if they pick me up

and work me over?

They haven't violated

Portuguese neutrality so far.

I'd bet my bottom dollar

you'd keep quiet, Jeff.

Thanks, Mac,

but don't bet too much on it.

I've never had my ear used for an ashtray.

You figure it's worth

the risk, general?

If it were a one-time thing, no.

But aside from the information factor...

...you've been making weekly

courier flights to Lisbon for a year.

Suddenly stopping might make...

...the imminence of the invasion

even more obvious.

TIME magazine predicts

it's going to be the first week in June.

You know something? I have a hunch that

German Intelligence is almost as smart.

The old man wants us to do

all we can...

...to make the Germans think

we're doing business as usual.

We're sending David back to Stockholm.

And we've got that actor

reviewing troops in Gibraltar...

...impersonating General Montgomery.

Is he getting away with that, sir?

Apparently, even some of the

British officials believe he's Montgomery.

When do you want me to leave, sir?

We've booked you on the midnight flight.

It's 12:
30 now, sir.

Well, I arranged for them to find

some mechanical difficulties.

They're holding the plane for you.

Here's your ticket, Jeff.

Embassy car'll pick you up in half an hour.

BOAC announces immediate

departure of Flight 16 to Lisbon.

Passengers will proceed to Gate 23.

We apologize for the delay, but

mechanical difficulties made it unavoidable.

- So long. Good luck.

- See you soon. Thank you.

Hello, love.

Tell Ma that Pa just went to see Bert.

Oh, no. No, no, no.

That's all right. At ease, at ease.

Now, we've all been through this

many times before.

But this one is the most important.

Therefore, not the slightest mistake

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George Seaton

George Seaton (April 17, 1911 – July 28, 1979) was an American screenwriter, playwright, film director and producer, and theatre director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "36 Hours" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/36_hours_1702>.

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