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Count Five and Die

Count Five and Die
Count Five and Die.jpg
Directed byVictor Vicas
Written byJack Seddon
David Pursall
Produced byEarnest Gartside
StarringJeffrey Hunter
Nigel Patrick
Annemarie Düringer
CinematographyArthur Grant
Edited byRussell Lloyd
Music byJohn Wooldridge
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 1957 (1957)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Count Five and Die is a 1957 British war drama produced by Zonic Productions and released in the USA by the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. It was directed by Victor Vicas, produced by Ernest Gartside with the screenplay by Jack Seddon and David Pursall. It stars Jeffrey Hunter, Nigel Patrick and Annemarie Düringer.


In 1944 London, Major Julien Howard (Nigel Patrick), a British MI6 intelligence agent, meets Captain Bill Ranson (Jeffrey Hunter), his new American security officer. As Howard was previously picked up by German Abwehr counter-intelligence, Ranson soon realizes that their assignment is to feed misinformation to the Germans about the location of the D-Day landings; they are to make it look like it will be in the occupied Netherlands. Howard tells him the rest of the unit must not know the truth.

One night, while on a date with Rolande Hertog, the unit's radio operator, Ranson becomes concerned and returns to the offices. He is shot at and wounds an intruder. He leaves the unconscious man with Hertog to search further but the man's accomplice gets away. Hertog kills the captive, claiming he tried to grab her gun. A romance quickly develops between Ranson and Hertog the same night. When Ranson gets back to the office, Howard criticises his actions; MI5 had tipped him off that the Germans were planning to search his offices, so he made it easy for them to get the planted misinformation, until Ranson intervened. Further, he suspects that Hertog is a German agent; Jan Guldt, their liaison with the Dutch underground, had been sent back to The Netherlands, only to be captured immediately. Ranson does not believe it.

Howard sends Piet van Wijt to The Netherlands, supposedly to evaluate the effects of a bombing raid, but actually to test Hertog. They do not hear from van Wijt again. Meanwhile, Howard receives news that the Germans are redeploying troops into the country.

Howard orders Ranson to keep seeing Hertog so she will not become suspicious but Ranson is an unconvincing actor. Now suspicious, Hertog goes to her sector commander, Hauptman Hans Faber, who is posing as a dentist. Faber is not fully convinced by her claim that it is all a fraud but needs to make sure. He arranges for the young son of Dr Mulder, Howard's psychological warfare expert, to be kidnapped. Mulder is forced to reveal the supposed invasion location to save his boy's life. However, he later confides to Hertog that he does not believe that the Netherlands is the place. The two men who were sent behind enemy lines were not given poisonous cyanide capsules to avoid capture. If they had, they could have taken them; then they could "count five and die". She tells Muller to go home, that she will alert Ranson. Instead, she tries once more to persuade Faber to change his mind but without success.

Howard and Ranson speak to Mulder and realise the situation. They manage to capture Faber and free Mulder's son although Martins gets away and Faber bites his cyanide capsule. Meanwhile, Ranson tracks down Hertog but not before she sends a radio message unmasking the deception. Ranson takes a big gamble, telling her that she did exactly what they wanted her to do and that it was all a "double bluff", then lets her grab a pistol and forces her to shoot him by advancing on her. She transmits a second message, then leaves, believing Ranson to be dead. He is still alive, however. Martins then shoots Hertog.

The epilogue states that on D-Day, "ten German divisions were not in the line. They were north in Holland, waiting for an invasion that never came."


  • Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Bill Ranson
  • Nigel Patrick as Major Julien Howard
  • Annemarie Düringer as Rolande Hertog
  • David Kossoff as Dr. Mulder
  • Rolf Lefebvre as Hans Faber
  • Larry Burns as Martins, the building porter and German spy
  • Philip Bond as Piet van Wijt, in charge of radio operations
  • Arthur Gross as Jan Guldt
  • Robert Raglan as Lieutenant Miller, a member of Howard's unit
  • Peter Prouse as Sergeant Bill Parrish, a member of Howard's unit
  • Otto Diamant as Mr. Hendrijk, who prints what his wife writes
  • Wolf Frees as Brauner, the spy killed by Hertog
  • Anthony Ostrer
  • Marianne Walla as Mrs. Hendrijk, a writer on Howard's staff
  • Philip Ray
  • Beth Rogan as Mary Ann Lennig, Howard's curvaceous decoder


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Count Five and Die
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