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36 Hours

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36 Hours, starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor, Werner Peters, John Banner
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36 Hours, starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor, Werner Peters, John Banner

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. But they only have 36 Hours


James Garner and Rod Taylor in "36 Hours"

Major Jefferson Pike

James Garner (The Great Escape) … Major Jefferson Pike. An excellent dramatic performance. The movie begins with him waking up, seemingly in the 1950’s. He’s told that he suffers from recurring amnesia bouts since the war. In reality, it’s psychological warfare. It’s actually shortly before the D-Day invasion. And the Nazi’s are using this massive mind game to try and get the Allies’ plans from him. But with one small discrepancy after another, he’s beginning to have his doubts …

Anna Hedler

Eva Marie Saint in "36 Hours"

Eva Marie Saint (Nothing in Common) … Anna Hedler. Pike’s wife, in the fantasy. In reality, she’s his nurse. A Jew from the concentration camp, willing to do anything to escape from the death camp, even temporarily. But she still has a conscience, and puts her life on the line to help Pike.

Major Walter Gerber

Rod Taylor (The Time Machine) … Major Walter Gerber. A scientist who disagrees with the Nazis. But, willingly serves them anyway. For him, the advance of science is the ultimate goal. No matter the human cost. A chilling, excellent performance.

Otto Schack

Werner Peters in "36 Hours"

Werner Peters (Battle of the Bulge) … Otto Schack. The loyal Nazi, who’s more than willing to use torture if Gerber’s method fails. A short-sighted, opportunistic, nasty brute.


John Banner (Hogan’ Heroes) … Ernst. A surprisingly good performance. At first, his character appears to be a slightly more corrupt version of Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes. He helps Pike and Anna to escape. For a price. Even though he agrees with them. He has to have money to survive on between the wars, after all. And, towards the conclusion, he does something critical. Also unexpected. And totally in character.

Secondary Characters

  • Russell Thorson … General Allison
  • Alan Napier (The Mole People, Batman: The Movie) … Colonel Peter MacLean
  • Oscar Beregi Jr.. … Lt. Colonel Ostermann
  • Ed Gilbert … Captain Abbott
  • Sig Ruman (Ninotchka, O. Henry’s Full House) … German Guard
  • Celia Lovsky … Elsa
  • Karl Held … Corporal Kenter
  • Martin Kosleck (The Mummy’s Curse) … Kraatz
  • Marjorie Bennett … Charwoman
  • Henry Rowland … German Soldier
  • Otto Reichow … German Soldier
  • Hilda Plowright … German Agent
  • Walter Friedel … Denker
  • Joseph Mell … Lemke

Editorial review of 36 Hours courtesy of

It’s 1950. Maj. Jefferson Pike is in an Allied military hospital, under the care of an American doctor. Pike is an amnesiac, and if he could recount the details of D-Day, his last memory, perhaps it would unlock his mind. Only it’s really 1944, and Pike is deep in German territory in a faux hospital built just for him.

James Garner does a heroic star turn as increasingly suspicious Pike, and Rod Taylor makes a canny opponent as the duplicitous Doktor in a tense cat-and-mouse, twist-filled wartime thriller. The Nazis have only 36 Hours to pull off their elaborate ruse and get the D-Day plans out of Pike. But if that doesn’t work, they will use any means necessary.

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