The Great Impostor (1960)

TV-PG   |    |  Comedy, Drama

The Great Impostor (1960) Poster

Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. is a versatile man who gets his kicks out of impersonating a marine, a monk, a navy surgeon and a prison warden, eventually getting in trouble with the law for it.



  • Raymond Massey in The Great Impostor (1960)
  • Tony Curtis and Joan Blackman in The Great Impostor (1960)
  • Tony Curtis and Sue Ane Langdon in The Great Impostor (1960)
  • The Great Impostor (1960)
  • The Great Impostor (1960)
  • The Great Impostor (1960)

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23 June 2018 | classicalsteve
| An Enjoyable Schtick About a Real-Life Con Artist, Similar to "Catch Me if You Can"
"The Great Impostor" is quintessential Tony Curtis. Curtis was never an exceptional screen actor but a decent one, probably more for his good looks and charisma than his ability to become different people. He is in the category of what I call "charisma actors". (I would include Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the same category.) Charisma actors are talented and can be very convincing given the right role. And this was the right role for Curtis.

"The Great Imposter" tells the true story of Ferdinand Waldo Demara (Curtis) who was chronicled in a novelistic book of the same name written by Robert Crighton (who also wrote "The Secret of Santa Vittoria"). Demara assumed different identities, such as a monk, a sheriff's deputy, and notably, a prison warden, usually without the expected credentials. Probably the exploit he is most known for which brought him both recognition but exposed his chicanery was becoming a ship's surgeon for the Canadian military during the civil war in Korea. And he didn't have a medical degree!

Curtis was perfect casting as Demara. He makes his character fun and likeable. The real Demara was somewhat heavy-set, unlike Curtis. However, Curtis captures the essence of Demara's likability which was probably the reason for his success. The real Demara found ways of inserting himself to situations without alienating or threatening those already there. While the movie exaggerates a little bit the outcomes of some of Demara's ventures, it's a fun and thoroughly entertaining film. Not one which will go down in the annals of the greatest movies ever made, but it holds its own. A must for Curtis fans.

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