Nobody Runs Forever

Nobody Runs Forever, also called The High Commissioner, is a 1968 political spy thriller film directed by Ralph Thomas based on Jon Cleary's 1966 novel The High Commissioner. It stars Rod Taylor as Australian policeman Scobie Malone and Christopher Plummer as the Australian High Commissioner in Britain caught up in corrupt dealings, during delicate negotiations.[2] Taylor's production company was involved in making the film[3] as was the American Selmur Productions.

Nobody Runs Forever
Directed byRalph Thomas
Produced byBetty E. Box
Written byWilfred Greatorex
Rod Taylor (uncredited)
Based onnovel The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary
StarringRod Taylor
Christopher Plummer
Lilli Palmer
Daliah Lavi
Camilla Sparv
Burt Kwouk
Music byGeorges Delerue
CinematographyErnest Steward
Distributed byRank Film Distributors
Release date
22 August 1968
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$605,000[1]


Sergeant Scobie Malone (Taylor) of the New South Wales Police (NSW Police) is summoned to Sydney by the gruff Premier of New South Wales, Mr Flannery (played by an uncredited Leo McKern).[2] (The character of Flannery may have been based on Sir Robert Askin, the controversial Premier of NSW at the time.) Flannery asks Malone to travel to London, to arrest the senior Australian diplomat in London, Sir James Quentin (Plummer), High Commissioner to the UK. Sir James, a political rival of the Premier, has become the only suspect in a 25 year old murder case.

Upon his arrival at the Australian High Commission in London, Malone meets Lady Quentin (Lilli Palmer) and her husband, as well as Sir James's secretary (Camilla Sparv). Sir James does not object to being arrested, but asks for a few days to conclude delicate peace negotiations. As Malone waits as a guest of the High Commission, he uncovers a plot to assassinate Sir James, masterminded by the head of a dangerous spy ring, Maria Cholon (Daliah Lavi).



Filmed in Australia and London, this was the last big-screen appearance of Franchot Tone, who plays the American ambassador.

Rod Taylor has a rare opportunity to play an Australian, even though that is his native land. Taylor's unsophisticated integrity is contrasted with the London diplomatic scene throughout the film.

Taylor accepted the role on the proviso he could rewrite some of the script. In particular, the opening scene where Scobie Malone arrests Jacko (Charles Tingwell) is Rod's work.[4][5]

Ralph Thomas later said "I was a hired hand" on the film; "It was ok".[6]

Differences from novel

There were several key changes from the novel, including:

  • introducing Scobie Malone as an outback policeman;
  • reducing the emphasis on the peace conference being for the Vietnam War and making it something more vague;[7]
  • Scobie having sex with Maria Cholon.[4]


The film earned rentals of $455,000 in North America and $150,000 elsewhere. It recorded a loss of $1,185,000.[1]

It recorded admissions in France of 44,083.[8]


  1. "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
  4. Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p 139
  5. ""THE HIGH COMMISSIONER"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 14 August 1968. p. 8. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. Collected Interviews: Voices from Twentieth-century Cinema by Wheeler W. Dixon, SIU Press, 2001 p113
  7. "No embarrassment for our High Commissioner". The Canberra Times. 31 October 1967. p. 15. Retrieved 18 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. French box office for 1969 at Box Office Story
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.