A Canadian commercial pilot sees a telecast in London of an interview with Sir Mark Lodden (Sir Dirk Bogarde) at his home. The Canadian is convinced that the baronet is a fraud, that he is actually a look-alike actor named Frank Welney (Sir Dirk Bogarde). The Canadian, the baronet, and the actor were all prisoners in the same German camp during the war and escaped together. One of them disappeared during the escape. Was he Sir Mark or Welney? The tabloids have a field day with the Canadian's accusations, and Lady Margaret Lodden (Olivia de Havilland) urges her husband to sue for libel and engage the distinguished barrister Sir Wilfred (Robert Morley). The long drawn-out case is made complex by the fact that Sir Mark is not quite sure of his identity. Injured in the war, he stutters on occasion and has difficulty remembering portions of his life. As the evidence sways back and forth in court, it begins to appear that Sir Mark is an impostor and the possible murderer of the missing ...Written by
The original Broadway production of "Libel", produced in 1935, was directed by Otto Preminger, years before he made his Hollywood debut as a movie director. See more »
In opening credits, Arthur Davey is listed as In Charge of Adminstration; no way of missing the obvious error - it takes up half the screen; of course, it should be Administration. How can such glaring errors be missed by editors. See more »
I unabashedly admit that Dirk Bogarde is one of my favorite actors, so naturally, two of him is better. In "Libel," directed by Anthony Asquith, he has a dual role - that of a baron, Sir Mark Sebastian Loddon, and Frank Welney, an actor and a lookalike in his barracks during World War II. When Mark returns from the war, he can't remember a lot of his past life and is haunted by images of events during the war that he can't connect with. Another soldier sees the baron on television and believes that he is really Frank Welney, and the story is published in a tabloid. Mark's wife (Olivia de Havilland) insists that for the sake of their young son, he sue for libel. He does.
This is an often-told story, but I enjoyed it anyway. Bogarde is excellent as the uptight, insecure Mark and the cocky, nosy Frank, and while there is a strong resemblance between the two men, Welney's coloring and hairstyle is different, as is his manner. De Havilland turns in another marvelous, emotional performance as a woman who starts out believing her husband is indeed the man she loved before the war... and then having her doubts.
Well directed and holds one's interest.
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