Libel

  • 1959
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

LIBEL is a confusing film that does little to enhance the careers of any of the people involved. When Bogarde is seen on television (he's a wealthy Londoner and a peer) by Massie, a former inmate at the same POW camp, Massie wonders if Bogarde is the man he seems to be--or is he an actor who was at the camp at the same time and looked like the peer? Massie,...read more

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LIBEL is a confusing film that does little to enhance the careers of any of the people involved. When Bogarde is seen on television (he's a wealthy Londoner and a peer) by Massie, a former inmate at the same POW camp, Massie wonders if Bogarde is the man he seems to be--or is he an actor

who was at the camp at the same time and looked like the peer? Massie, a Canadian airline pilot, accuses Bogarde of being an impostor; the British press picks up on the potentially sensational story. Bogarde's wife, de Havilland, urges him to hire well-known barrister Morley to bring libel

charges. What makes the case difficult is that Bogarde has suffered in the war (or has he?) and stutters, as well as having periods of amnesia. As the trial commences and the action flows back and forth between Morley and the other attorney, Hyde-White, Bogarde's guilt or innocence seems to change

with each witness. Then a surprise witness is ushered in. It's Bogarde (as the actor), now a hulk of a man who lives in a mental institution where he is known as Number 15. Seeing him stuns the peer into recalling what happened when the two men escaped from the camp. The actor attempted to kill

the peer, who responded by defending himself and beating the attacker into submission. The actor had hoped to replace the peer in his privileged life, and fool everyone. (This was a real happening in France several centuries before and was eventually filmed as THE RETURN OF MARTIN GUERRE). The

whole thing is improbable, and even the courtroom scenes fail to catch fire. Bogarde was excellent in the two roles and played them so differently that he could make you believe he was two people. Oscar-nominated for Best Sound.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: LIBEL is a confusing film that does little to enhance the careers of any of the people involved. When Bogarde is seen on television (he's a wealthy Londoner and a peer) by Massie, a former inmate at the same POW camp, Massie wonders if Bogarde is the man h… (more)

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