Stolen Identity (1953)

87-88 mins | Drama | 1953

Writer:

Robert Hill

Producer:

Turhan Bey

Cinematographer:

Helmuth Ashley

Production Company:

Turhan Bey
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HISTORY

The film's working title was I Was Jack Mortimer . The opening credits contain the following written statement, that appears just before the producing and directing credits: "This picture was photographed in Vienna, Austria at 'Wien-Film' studios in cooperation with Schoenbrunn Films." The viewed print had a title card that read "Trans-Globe Films," the film's original North American distributor. The Exh review indicated that the film was an "Ainsworth-Nathanson" production, but Helen Ainsworth was the distributor. Sam Nathanson was an executive with the company. The Exh review incorrently includes John/Jack Mortimer in the cast, but "Jack Mortimer" was merely the name of the character portrayed by Donald Buka.
       Stolen Identity was the first producing credit for actor Turhan Bey. As noted in a Var article in late Apr 1952, there were two versions of the film shot simultaneously, one in German and one in English. The German-language version was directed by E. E. Reinert and co-starred Gustav Froelich and Cornell Borchers. Francis Lederer portrayed "Claude Manelli" in both versions. The Var article noted that the film was the first film to be made by partners Bey and Elisabeth Dickinson but that financial problems had forced the partners to scuttle plans for additional films. Dickinson is not mentioned in the onscreen credits. In a modern interview, Bey elaborated that he never produced another film.
       According to a Jan 1953 news item in DV , distributor Nat Levine sued Bey, Werner Kreide and Trans-Globe Films, Inc., charging that he had "a set deal with an undisclosed distrib[utor] who offered a $50,000 ... More Less

The film's working title was I Was Jack Mortimer . The opening credits contain the following written statement, that appears just before the producing and directing credits: "This picture was photographed in Vienna, Austria at 'Wien-Film' studios in cooperation with Schoenbrunn Films." The viewed print had a title card that read "Trans-Globe Films," the film's original North American distributor. The Exh review indicated that the film was an "Ainsworth-Nathanson" production, but Helen Ainsworth was the distributor. Sam Nathanson was an executive with the company. The Exh review incorrently includes John/Jack Mortimer in the cast, but "Jack Mortimer" was merely the name of the character portrayed by Donald Buka.
       Stolen Identity was the first producing credit for actor Turhan Bey. As noted in a Var article in late Apr 1952, there were two versions of the film shot simultaneously, one in German and one in English. The German-language version was directed by E. E. Reinert and co-starred Gustav Froelich and Cornell Borchers. Francis Lederer portrayed "Claude Manelli" in both versions. The Var article noted that the film was the first film to be made by partners Bey and Elisabeth Dickinson but that financial problems had forced the partners to scuttle plans for additional films. Dickinson is not mentioned in the onscreen credits. In a modern interview, Bey elaborated that he never produced another film.
       According to a Jan 1953 news item in DV , distributor Nat Levine sued Bey, Werner Kreide and Trans-Globe Films, Inc., charging that he had "a set deal with an undisclosed distrib[utor] who offered a $50,000 advance" for the film. Levine charged that the parties named in the suit had refused to pay him a previously arranged $5,000 fee for arranging to release the film. According to the Apr 1952 Var article, Trans-Globe had "already broken up on the financial rocks." The disposition of the 1953 suit has not been found. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Apr 1953.
---
Daily Variety
12 Jan 1953.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1953
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 May 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 1953
p. 3.
The Exhibitor
25 Mar 1953
p. 3489.
Variety
30 Apr 1952.
---
Variety
8 Apr 1953
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
The Turhan Bey production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam
ART DIRECTOR
COSTUMES
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Ich war Jack Mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia (Berlin, 1933).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
I Was Jack Mortimer
Release Date:
1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 April 1953
Production Date:
ended early May 1952 at Wien-Film Studios in Vienna
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Countries:
Austria, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Vienna, Austria, Karen Manelli, the American wife of concert pianist Claude Manelli, receives a telegram from her old friend, Jack Mortimer, saying that he will be arriving in Vienna that night. The possessive Claude intercepts the telegram and confronts her, but pleads that he wants her to stay with him and promises to be a better husband. After leaving the house to rehearse for a New Year’s Eve concert that night, Claude is no longer able to suppress his anger and drives his large, expensive car recklessly, narrowly missing a taxi driven by Toni Sponer. Toni is furious when he drops off the cab for his co-worker Heinth, but their friend Marie warns him not to call the police as he has had no papers since the war and will be thrown in jail for driving illegally. The fatalistic Toni, whose father was a prominent professor and spent many years in America, tells Marie that jail might not be too bad. Late that afternoon, with the help of her faithful maid, Mrs. Fraser, Karen sneaks past Kruger, Claude’s conniving manager, and leaves their house to meet Jack at a local hotel. Because Heinth is too drunk to drive, Toni takes his evening shift, and when Jack arrives at the train station, he hires Toni’s taxi and asks to be driven to the airline office. Meanwhile, Kruger has discovered that Karen left the house and informs Claude. Too upset to continue his rehearsal, Claude says that he wants to rest before his performance, then secretly leaves the concert hall and drives to the train station. He sees Jack enter Toni’s ... +


In Vienna, Austria, Karen Manelli, the American wife of concert pianist Claude Manelli, receives a telegram from her old friend, Jack Mortimer, saying that he will be arriving in Vienna that night. The possessive Claude intercepts the telegram and confronts her, but pleads that he wants her to stay with him and promises to be a better husband. After leaving the house to rehearse for a New Year’s Eve concert that night, Claude is no longer able to suppress his anger and drives his large, expensive car recklessly, narrowly missing a taxi driven by Toni Sponer. Toni is furious when he drops off the cab for his co-worker Heinth, but their friend Marie warns him not to call the police as he has had no papers since the war and will be thrown in jail for driving illegally. The fatalistic Toni, whose father was a prominent professor and spent many years in America, tells Marie that jail might not be too bad. Late that afternoon, with the help of her faithful maid, Mrs. Fraser, Karen sneaks past Kruger, Claude’s conniving manager, and leaves their house to meet Jack at a local hotel. Because Heinth is too drunk to drive, Toni takes his evening shift, and when Jack arrives at the train station, he hires Toni’s taxi and asks to be driven to the airline office. Meanwhile, Kruger has discovered that Karen left the house and informs Claude. Too upset to continue his rehearsal, Claude says that he wants to rest before his performance, then secretly leaves the concert hall and drives to the train station. He sees Jack enter Toni’s taxi and follows them in his car. At the airline office, Jack asks to have the tickets for Karen and himself delivered to his hotel, then walks back to the taxi and asks Toni to retrieve a suitcase left at the counter. While Toni is inside, Claude, who wrongly assumes that Jack and Karen are in love, leaves his car, sneaks around the taxi and shoots Jack through the back window. Because jackhammers are working on the street, the shot is not heard, thus enabling Claude to drive away. His car is observed by Toni, who is surprised to see it again. Toni gets into the taxi and drives for a few blocks, but senses that something is wrong when his passenger does not respond to questions. When Toni discovers that Jack is dead, he tries to inform a policeman, but traffic is heavy, and the preoccupied officer orders Toni to move along. Toni later calls the police from a crowded bar, but when the policeman asks his name, Toni hangs up. Thinking that the American passport and money in Jack’s pockets will offer him a way out of his predicament, Toni drives the body to a deserted area beneath a bridge, takes Jack’s suitcase, wallet, coat and hat, then leaves. After having his picture taken and arranging for a doctoring of Jack’s passport, Toni writes a note to the police, telling them where they can find the body. He then goes to see Marie, worrying her by saying that he will be leaving Vienna that night. Next, Toni checks into Jack’s hotel. As he registers as Jack Mortimer, Karen observes him and determines to find out who the impostor is. She knocks on the door of his room and pretends to be looking for someone else, then confronts him, demanding to know who he is. His story of being a friend of Jack falls apart, and when Karen suddenly realizes that Jack may be dead, she runs off. A few minutes later, the police, accompanied by Karen, take Toni to the police station. Toni, who is now dressed like an American and speaks perfect English, remains calm and shows the police inspector the doctored passport. After receiving a telephone call, the inspector takes both Toni and Karen to the concert hall, where Claude greets them. To Toni’s surprise, Claude apologizes to him for the inconvenience and explains that Karen is ill and has run off before and concocted fantasies. The inspector, who is a fan of Claude, then allows Toni to leave. On the sidewalk outside the theater, Toni is surprised to again see the car he encountered twice that afternoon. When Toni goes back to the hotel to collect his airline tickets, he learns that the clerk had given them to Karen earlier. Just as Toni starts to panic, the bellboy hands him a message from Karen, asking to meet him. Karen tells him that Jack was Claude’s best man; therefore, if he hid the fact that Toni was an imposter, it must be because he himself killed Jack. Although skeptical at first, Toni admits that she is right and the pair goes to Marie’s apartment to hide until it is time to leave for the airport. Unknown to them, a woman has gone to the police to complain that her fur was stained by blood in Heinth's taxi. Heinth has no idea how the blood got there, but under pressure, reveals that Toni had driven for him earlier that evening. The police then arrive at Heinth and Toni’s apartment, but Marie helps Karen and Toni get away, then tells the police she has been drinking alone all night because Toni stood her up. As Karen and Toni hide while waiting to go to the airport, Karen tells him about Claude’s insane jealousy and her need to get away from him. Meanwhile, Kruger, who knows what has happened, advises Claude to let her go, as she no longer loves him, but Claude cannot be dissuaded and takes Kruger with him to the airport. Just before their flight is to leave, Karen and Toni nervously check in and are about to board when an official tells Karen that she must first update a vaccination certificate. When she and Toni arrive at the nurse’s station, Claude and Kruger are there. Toni calls Claude a murderer, then Claude sends Kruger for the police inspector. As their flight is announced, a defeated Karen implores Toni to save himself. Under the watchful eyes of Claude and the inspector, Toni approaches the plane, but at the last moment turns back, then tells the inspector that he is an imposter, responsible for aiding Claude, who murdered Jack Mortimer. Although Claude laughs off the accusation, Toni says that he can prove Claude knew he was an impostor by opening Jack’s suitcase, which contains a picture of Jack, Claude and Karen. Claude then runs onto the tarmac, but is arrested by the police. Later, Toni assures Karen that he will only serve a few months in prison, and she can now go home to America. Karen says that she will be staying, then takes a cigarette from Toni as they gaze at the departing plane. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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