Nobody Runs Forever
"Nobody Runs Forever" (1968).jpg
Directed byRalph Thomas
Written byWilfred Greatorex
Rod Taylor (uncredited)
Based onThe High Commissioner
by Jon Cleary
Produced byBetty E. Box
StarringRod Taylor
Christopher Plummer
Lilli Palmer
Daliah Lavi
Camilla Sparv
Burt Kwouk
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byErnest Hosler
Music byGeorges Delerue
The Rank Organisation
Katzka-Berne Productions
Distributed byRank Film Distributors
Cinerama Releasing Corporation
Release dates
  • 22 August 1968 (1968-08-22) (London-premiere)
  • 30 August 1968 (1968-08-30) (United Kingdom)
  • September 25, 1968 (1968-09-25) (Los Angeles)
  • December 11, 1968 (1968-12-11) (New York City)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$605,000[1]

Nobody Runs Forever, also called The High Commissioner, is a 1968 British political neo noir spy thriller film directed by Ralph Thomas and 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.[citation needed] Taylor's production company was involved in making the film,[2] as was the American company Selmur Productions.


Sergeant Scobie Malone of the New South Wales Police (NSW Police) is summoned to Sydney by the gruff Premier of New South Wales, Mr Flannery, who asks Malone to travel to London and arrest the senior Australian diplomat in Britain, Sir James Quentin, 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 and her husband, as well as Sir James's secretary. Sir James does not object to being arrested, but he 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.



In August 1966 Cleary said Frank Sinatra was interested in buying the film rights.[3]

Film rights were sold in December 1966.[4]

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.[5][6]

Ralph Thomas later said "I was a hired hand" on the film; "It was ok".[7]

Differences from novel

There were several key changes from the novel, including:


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.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
  2. ^ "The Complete Rod Taylor Site: The High Commissioner".
  3. ^ Day, Christopher (28 August 1966). "The Golden Years of Jon Cleary". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 80.
  4. ^ "Books into films". The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 3 December 1966. p. 10. Retrieved 18 April 2020 – via Trove.
  5. ^ a b Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p 139
  6. ^ ""THE HIGH COMMISSIONER"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 14 August 1968. p. 8. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Collected Interviews: Voices from Twentieth-century Cinema by Wheeler W. Dixon, SIU Press, 2001 p113
  8. ^ "No embarrassment for our High Commissioner". The Canberra Times. 31 October 1967. p. 15. Retrieved 18 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ French box office for 1969 at Box Office Story