A Man Could Get Killed

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A Man Could Get Killed
A Man Could Get Killed- Poster - W.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ronald Neame
Cliff Owen
Produced by Robert Arthur
Written by David E. Walker
Richard L. Breen
T. E. B. Clarke
Starring James Garner
Melina Mercouri
Sandra Dee
Anthony Franciosa
Robert Coote
Music by Bert Kaempfert, Herbert Rehbein, Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder, Buddy Scot, Jimmy Radcliffe
Cinematography Gábor Pogány
Edited by Alma Macrorie
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • 25 March 1966 (1966-03-25) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Man Could Get Killed is a 1966 adventure comedy film directed by Ronald Neame and Cliff Owen, shot on various locations in Portugal and starring James Garner, Melina Mercouri, Sandra Dee, Anthony Franciosa, and Robert Coote. The fourteen-year-old Jenny Agutter worked on the film but did not appear in the final cut.

The screenplay was written by Richard L. Breen, and T. E. B. Clarke and David E. Walker based on the Walker's novel Diamonds For Danger. The film introduced the melody of "Strangers in the Night" by German composer Bert Kaempfert which won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song in a Motion Picture" of 1967.


A search is on for stolen diamonds and a government agent has been killed trying to recover them. When an unsuspecting William Beddoes arrives in Lisbon on behalf of an American bank, he is mistaken for the dead agent's replacement.

Hatton-Jones of the British embassy comes to Beddoes' aid. Also taking an interest is Aurora Celeste, the dead man's lover, as well as Steve Antonio, a smuggler, who is being pursued by the law's Amy Franklin.

Everyone ends up aboard a yacht belonging to Dr. Mathieson, who appears to be the mastermind of the crime and knows where the hidden diamonds are. Beddoes ends up engineering an escape for all once the gems are safely in the hands of Hatton-Jones, who turns out to be the dead agent's actual successor.

Beddoes collects reward money for his efforts. He heads for home, assuming he will never see any of these people again, but Aurora schemes to make sure he'll be back.



The cast had a falling out with director Cliff Owen who was replaced by Ronald Neame in July 1965. Neame also recalled that co-stars James Garner and Tony Franciosa did not get on well and their fight in the film became a real brawl.[1]

This was the last film Sandra Dee made under contract of Universal. According to a 1965 interview with the actress, she "begged [the producers] not to make [her] do the picture. So I spent a miserable four months in Lisbon, little fishing villages and in Rome, making a picture that should have taken eight weeks. We had two changes of directors, and I ended up playing Come September all over again."[2]


The score for A Man Could Get Killed was composed by the German Bert Kaempfert, partially with the assistance of Herbert Rehbein and performed by his orchestra. It introduced the melody of the song "Strangers in the Night", which was initially destinated to be sung by Melina Mercouri but she insisted that her voice would not fit to the melody and it should be given to a man. Eventually, the version by Frank Sinatra became a global number one hit and by now is considered a standard of easy listening music. The tune, listed in the original sound track as "Beddy Bye", permeates the movie throughout and won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song in a Motion Picture" of 1967, beating the other nominated compositions "Un homme et une femme" by French orchestra leader Francis Lai, "Born Free" by John Barry, which won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Original Song, "Alfie" by Burt Bacharach, and "Georgy Girl" by Tom Springfield from the eponymous movies, the latter two also having been Oscar nominees of 1966.

The overall score to the movie, often resorting to Latin and even seemingly Greek influenced imagery, found a more mixed reception.[3] The soundtrack was produced by Milt Gabler and recorded at Polydor Studios, Hamburg, Germany. It was originally released on a LP by Decca (4750) and on a CD in 1999 by Taragon Records, then combined with Bert Kaempfert's LP Strangers in the Night (original release 1966, Decca (4795)).


  1. ^ pp.208-209 Neame, Ronald with Cooper, Barbara Roisman Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Ronald Neame, an AutobiographyScarecrow Press, 27/09/2003
  2. ^ "Hollywood Highlights" by Bob Thomas. Spokane Daily Chronicle, 20 December 1965. p. 15.
  3. ^ Film and television scores, 1950–1979: a critical survey by genre, Kristopher Spencer, McFarland, 2008

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