It isn't surprising that The Great Manhunt invokes fond memories of Alfred Hitchcock; the film was scripted by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, the two former Hitchcock collaborators responsible for the screenplay of The Master's The Lady Vanishes (38). Gilliat also directed this fast-paced political adventure, starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as an American heart surgeon summoned to operate on the ruler of a Balkan dictatorship. When the dictator dies, Fairbanks becomes a security risk for those who wish to perpetuate the totalitarian regime. The doctor desperately seeks a means of escaping the country; along the way, he teams up with a showgirl (Glynis Johns) who likewise wants to get home in a hurry. Meanwhile, the head of the secret police (Jack Hawkins) tries to keep one step ahead of Fairbanks. A healthy strain of comic cynicism pervades Great Manhunt, with both hero and villain making self-deprecating comments on the fickle nature of political power. Released in the US as State Secret, The Great Manhunt was based on Roy Huggins' novel Appointment With Fear.
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