In honor of the anniversary of Franchot's birth on February 27th, I'm posting daily this week instead of my usual twice-a-week posts. Today, I want to highlight Franchot's final film, Nobody Runs Forever.
Nobody Runs Forever (also known as The High Commissioner) is a late Sixties political thriller starring Christopher Plummer and Rod Taylor (an example of perfect casting, in my opinion). Rod Taylor is Scobie Malone, a police sergeant asked to take into custody the High Commissioner of Australia, James Quentin (Christopher Plummer), who is being investigated for the murder of his first wife. Quentin requests that Malone keep the matter private and give him until after an important peace summit. Malone agrees to give the commissioner a few days, but keeps a close eye on him. During that time, Malone grows close to Quentin as he protects him against multiple assassination attempts, uncovers secrets from Quentin's current wife, and identifies a threatening spy ring. Franchot is American Ambassador Townsend, an ailing political mentor of Quentin's.
Franchot's role is very brief (under a minute). For that reason, I chose to share his actual scene instead of my usual screen caps. Knowing it is his last scene in a major motion picture and that Franchot himself was battling lung cancer as he played this gravely ill character in a hospital makes this clip bittersweet for me. (If the embedded clip doesn't play here, use the direct Youtube link.)
Although he plays this scene from a hospital bed, Franchot performs with the fortitude that I so enjoy in the charactors of his final decade. He's no feeble old man in that room. He's alive and biting and wise and in control.
Nobody Runs Forever is a stylish spy film, full of political intrigue, great dialogue, and gorgeous mod fashion on both the men and the women. Christopher Plummer and Rod Taylor, two of my favorite actors of that decade, are both fantastic in their roles and Franchot ends his career on a high note in a sophisticated tale of espionage.
Under the title The High Commissioner, this film is available on DVD.