The Mark (1961 film)

The Mark is a 1961 film which tells the story of a convicted child molester, now out of prison, who is suspected in the molestation and beating of another child. The picture stars Stuart Whitman, Maria Schell, Rod Steiger and Brenda De Banzie.

The Mark
Theatrical poster to The Mark
Directed byGuy Green
Produced byRaymond Stross
Written by
Based onThe Mark
by Charles E. Israel
Music byRichard Rodney Bennett
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited byPeter Taylor
Distributed by20th Century Fox (US) Continental Distributing (UK)
Release date
  • 26 January 1961 (1961-01-26) (London)[1]
  • 2 October 1961 (1961-10-02) (New York)[2]
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Adapted by Sidney Buchman and Stanley Mann from the novel by Charles E. Israel, the movie was directed by Guy Green.

The Mark was selected to compete for a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Whitman was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.


Jim Fuller is released from prison after serving time for intent to commit child molestation. He attempts to return to society while dealing with his psychological demons with the help of a psychiatrist, Dr. McNally.

After finding employment, Jim begins a romantic relationship with the company's secretary, Ruth Leighton, and appears to be on the way to a better life. But when a child is reported as a possible abuse victim, Jim is picked up for questioning by the police. He has an alibi and is cleared, but a reporter exposes Jim's previous conviction and his presence in the company and community is no longer wanted.



The Mark was filmed in black and white and Cinemascope.

Each of the three main characters was played by actors not originally slated for the roles. Stuart Whitman was a last-minute replacement for Richard Burton; Maria Schell took over for Jean Simmons who was supposed to have played Ruth; and the role of the prison psychiatrist was intended for Trevor Howard before Rod Steiger was cast.[3]

According to an interview given by Steiger many years later, he had visited an analyst himself in the 1950s and observed how he conducted himself. He played McNally as an Irishman to avoid stereotyping and added touches to impart more humanity to the character. Steiger claimed that the portrayal was so well received by psychiatric professionals that he was invited to speak at a convention by a psychiatric society.[4]


The Mark premiered in London on January 26th 1961 at 20th Century Fox's Carlton Theatre, Haymarket and opened in New York in October.

Its subject matter made it controversial and it was criticised for making the pedophilic protagonist too sympathetic.[3][5] It also received favorable reviews for its treatment of a difficult subject, and praise for the acting, writing and directing.[6][7]


  1. "The Mark (1961) – Notes". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  2. "The Mark (1961) – Original print info". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  3. Sterritt, David. "Article: The Mark (1961)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  4. Steiger, Rod (9 June 2013). "Rod Steiger on "The Mark"" (Interview). Interviewed by John W. Henderson. Henderson's Film Industries. Retrieved 22 July 2015 via YouTube.
  5. Buhle, Paul; Wagner, Dave (2015). Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Blacklistees in Film and Television, 1950–2002. St. Martin's Press. pp. 298–299. ISBN 978-1-250-08313-5. See note 69.
  6. Weiler, A.H. (3 October 1961). "'The Mark': Psychiatric Film Has Premiere at Sutton". The Screen. The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  7. Alpert, Hollis (12 August 1961). "Life Situation". SR Goes to the Movies. Saturday Review: 29. Retrieved 26 September 2015 via
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