A Man Could Get Killed
A Man Could Get Killed is a 1966 adventure comedy film directed by Ronald Neame and Cliff Owen, shot on various locations in Portugal and starring James Garner, Melina Mercouri, Sandra Dee, Anthony Franciosa, and Robert Coote. The fourteen-year-old Jenny Agutter worked on the film but did not appear in the final cut.
|A Man Could Get Killed|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ronald Neame|
|Produced by||Robert Arthur|
|Written by||David E. Walker|
Richard L. Breen
T. E. B. Clarke
|Music by||Bert Kaempfert, Herbert Rehbein, Charles Singleton, Eddie Snyder, Buddy Scot, Jimmy Radcliffe|
|Edited by||Alma Macrorie|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The screenplay was written by Richard L. Breen, and T. E. B. Clarke and David E. Walker based on the Walker's novel Diamonds For Danger. The film introduced the melody of "Strangers in the Night" by German composer Bert Kaempfert, which won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song in a Motion Picture" of 1967.
A search is on for stolen diamonds and a government agent has been killed trying to recover them. When an unsuspecting William Beddoes arrives in Lisbon on behalf of an American bank, he is mistaken for the dead agent's replacement.
Hatton-Jones of the British embassy comes to Beddoes' aid. Also taking an interest is Aurora Celeste, the dead man's lover, as well as Steve Antonio, a smuggler, who is being pursued by Amy Franklin (a woman who, as a young girl, once had a crush on him).
All of the above end up aboard a yacht belonging to Dr. Mathieson, who appears to be the mastermind of the crime and knows where the hidden diamonds are. Beddoes ends up engineering an escape for all and the gems wind up safely in the hands of Hatton-Jones, the dead agent's actual successor.
Beddoes books a flight for home, assuming he will never see any of these people again, but Aurora steals his passport so that he could not leave.
- James Garner as William Beddoes
- Melina Mercouri as Aurora Celeste
- Sandra Dee as Amy Franklin
- Tony Franciosa as Steve Antonio
- Robert Coote as Hatton-Jones
- Roland Culver as Dr. Mathieson
- Grégoire Aslan as Florian
- Cecil Parker as Sir Huntley Frazier
- Dulcie Gray as Mrs. Mathieson
- Martin Benson as Politanu
- Peter Illing as Zarik
- Niall MacGinnis as Ship's Captain
- Virgilio Teixeira as Inspector Rodrigues
- Isabel Dean as Miss Bannister
- Daniele Vargas as Osman
- Ann Firbank as Miss Nolan
- John Bartha as Ludmar
The cast had a falling out with director Cliff Owen who was replaced by Ronald Neame in July 1965. Neame recalled that co-stars James Garner and Tony Franciosa did not get on well and their fight in the film became a real brawl.
It was the last film Sandra Dee made under contract to Universal. According to a 1965 interview with the actress, she "begged [the producers] not to make [her] do the picture. So I spent a miserable four months in Lisbon, little fishing villages and in Rome, making a picture that should have taken eight weeks. We had two changes of directors, and I ended up playing Come September all over again."
The score for A Man Could Get Killed was composed by the German Bert Kaempfert, partially with the assistance of Herbert Rehbein and recorded under the musical direction of Universal's Joseph Gershenson. It introduced the melody of the song "Strangers in the Night", which was initially designated to be sung by Melina Mercouri but she insisted that her voice would not fit to the melody and it should be given to a man. Eventually, the version by Frank Sinatra became a global number one hit and by now is considered a standard of easy listening music. The tune, listed in the original sound track as "Beddy Bye", permeates the movie throughout and won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song in a Motion Picture" of 1967, beating the other nominated compositions "Un homme et une femme" by French orchestra leader Francis Lai, "Born Free" by John Barry, which won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Original Song, "Alfie" by Burt Bacharach, and "Georgy Girl" by Tom Springfield from the eponymous movies, the latter two also having been Oscar nominees of 1966.
The overall score to the movie, often resorting to Latin and even seemingly Greek influenced imagery, found a more mixed reception. The soundtrack LP - in fact a rerecording of the score - was produced by Milt Gabler and recorded at Polydor Studios, Hamburg, Germany. It was originally released on a LP by Decca (Decca DL 74750) and on a CD in 1999 by Taragon Records, then combined with Bert Kaempfert's LP Strangers in the Night (original release 1966, Decca DL 74795).
- Willis, John (1983). Screen World 1967. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 27. ISBN 9780819603081.
- Neame, Ronald; Cooper, Barbara Roisman (March 2003). Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Ronald Neame: An Autobiography. Scarecrow Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 9780810844902.
- "Hollywood Highlights" by Bob Thomas. Spokane Daily Chronicle, 20 December 1965. p. 15.
- Film and television scores, 1950–1979: a critical survey by genre, Kristopher Spencer, McFarland, 2008