The High Commissioner
aka Nobody Runs Forever (1968)
Rod Taylor plays Scobie Malone, an Australian detective who
is sent to London to arrest the Australian high commissioner for the murder of
his first wife 25 years before.
But when Malone gets to London, the high commissioner, Sir James Quentin
(Christopher Plummer), calmly asks Malone if he could wait until he completes his
work in negotiating some delicate peace talks.
Malone agrees, and Quentin even invites Malone to stay at his home. Malone
becomes reluctantly involved as a bodyguard, and he saves Quentin from a couple
of assassination attempts. He also grows convinced that the commissioner is not
guilty of the murder.
A trio of beautiful women provide added mystery: Quentin's secretary (Camilla
Sparv), his second wife, Sheila (Lilli Palmer) and the exotic Madame Cholon (Daliah
Variety magazine described the movie as...
A melodrama with political undertones which has tension
and intrigue yet doesn't lose sight of its main purpose, to examine the
relationship of two decent men in a rough situation. Storyline, based on Jon
Cleary's novel "The High Commissioner," is workmanlike....
As the cop, Taylor gives a thoroughly likeable and credible
performance as a man clinging to his duty.
The movie was titled "Nobody Runs Forever" in Britain; it's
known as "The High Commissioner" in the United States and elsewhere. Taylor's
own Rodlor Inc. was one of the production companies.
A gala premiere of "Nobody Runs Forever" was held at the Odeon
Theater in London in August 1968. Rod Taylor escorted Zsa Zsa Gabor
to the show.
Later, Rod was the guest of Australian Prime Minister
John Gorton at a small dinner party held at The Lodge, Canberra, on
Sept. 15, 1968. After dinner, they joined other guests at a special
preview showing of "The High Commissioner." The informal evening was
part of a week-long visit to Australia, during which Rod attended
the Australian premiere of the film in Sydney.
Vagg writes in "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood" that Rod took
the opportunity to discuss the state of the Australian film industry
with the prime minister. Vagg notes that Gorton was genuinely
interested in Australian filmmaking and established institutions
that were crucial to the revival of the industry in the 1970s.
It's hard to know how much Rod's efforts helped, but as Vagg
expertly writes, "Rod's high-level lobbying on behalf of the
Australian film industry in the late 1960s is something he has never
receive sufficient credit for; it is far more than many Australian
expats of similar stature (e.g. Errol Flynn) ever did.
Rod is pictured above with Australian Prime Minister John Gorton,
Bettina Gorton, and their daughter Joanna Gorton.
Scobie Malone is a fictional Sydney homicide
detective who appears in a series of 20 books by Australian novelist
Jon Cleary. "The High Commissioner," published in 1968, was the
first of this series.
In "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood," biographer Stephen Vagg
notes that Cleary thought Rod "was as Scobie was at that stage,
because he was unmarried and a bit callow."
Rod was reluctant to take the part at first because he thought the
dialogue wasn't lively enough and also he was worried that he
couldn't manage the Australian accent after being a "phoney
American" for so long. Rod eventually agreed as long as they let him
"fiddle with the script."
Cleary didn't like the changes, especially the opening scene with
Rod making an arrest in the outback. The author thought that this
departed too much from his true-to-life vision of police work.
Cleary said he lost interest in the film because there was no way a
"country sergeant" would be sent to London to arrest the High
Wilfred Greatorex, a writer for documentaries and TV
shows, is credited with the screenplay.