On the Double (film)
|On the Double|
1961 movie poster
|Directed by||Melville Shavelson|
|Produced by||Jack Rose|
|Written by||Melville Shavelson
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Edited by||Frank Bracht|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release dates||May 19, 1961|
|Running time||92 min|
On The Double is a 1961 film, directed by Melville Shavelson, who also wrote the screenplay with Jack Rose. It stars Danny Kaye who plays, as in many of his films, two roles — in this case, an American soldier and a British General.
Enter Ernie Williams, a most reluctant American soldier. A hypochondriac and a coward, Ernie does have one talent; he is a superb mimic. One night in the mess, he is persuaded to impersonate the commander, General Sir Lawrence MacKenzie Smith. Using this persona, he attempts to go AWOL, but does not get further than the gate.
With a court-martial staring him in the face for impersonating an officer, Ernie is in big trouble. But Colonel Somerset (Wilfrid Hyde-White) of Military Intelligence recruits Ernie for "Operation Dead Pigeon". He is to impersonate the General (to whom he has a striking resemblance) for real, in order to flush out a suspected plot to kill the General, and unmask several officers known to be German agents.
Ernie is unable to fool the General's wife, Lady Margaret (Dana Wynter), but he is able to deceive the officers at a regimental party. On her advice, and to further the conceit, he appears to get drunk and has a fight with his wife. His hard-drinking Scottish aunt, Lady Vivian (Margaret Rutherford) is highly suspicious, but is too drunk to take it further.
The General also has a mistress, Sergeant Stanhope (played by blonde bombshell Diana Dors), but Ernie finds out too late that she is a "plant" - a German agent. With her connivance, he is kidnapped and taken to Berlin. There, he manages to confuse the German interrogators, who want information about the projected Normandy landings, by talking arrant nonsense about non-existent operations and places. In the resultant confusion, he manages to escape and is chased through the streets of Berlin at night.
Ernie takes on several comic disguises to throw off his pursuers. Then he hides in a nightclub, but is forced to perform a cabaret act as Fraulein Lilli (copied from Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel). Finally, disguised as a pilot, he boards a German bomber and manages to parachute out over England. Captured and about to be shot as a spy, he is rescued at the last moment by Somerset.
By the end of the movie, Ernie and Margaret are in love (the real General having been shot down in a plane).
- Danny Kaye as Private First Class Ernie Williams / General Sir Lawrence MacKenzie-Smith
- Dana Wynter as Lady Margaret MacKenzie-Smith
- Wilfrid Hyde-White as Colonel Somerset
- Margaret Rutherford as Lady Vivian
- Diana Dors as Sergeant Bridget Stanhope
- Allan Cuthbertson as Captain Patterson
- Jesse White as Corporal Joseph Praeger
- Gregory Walcott as Colonel Rock Houston
- Terence De Marney as Sergeant Colin Twickenham
- Rex Evans as General Carleton Brown Wiffingham
- Rudolph Anders as Oberkommandant
- Edgar Barrier as Blankmeister
- Ben Astar as General Zlinkov
- On the Double at the Internet Movie Database
- On the Double at the TCM Movie Database
- On the Double at AllMovie