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Creating the Scholar Warrior Identity: Tony Curtis

October 30, 20234 min read

I know that films are extremely powerful cultural touchstones because I grew up with the cinema as my sanctuary. I simply loved movies and wanted to make them no matter what. Someway, somehow, someday, I was going to be in the film industry. The dark hallowed theater was a religious experience where the lights went off and the imagination fired up.

The Movies were a Time Machine, a Transporter and an Imagination Generator.

How and What could I learn from movies? What philosophies can I garner from movies?

If you wonder how you can create your own new Identity as a Scholar Warrior, then you should realize that this identity is an ‘umbrella’ identity under which other identities can be created or set. By example, check out this film with Tony Curtis. If he can create numerous identities, then so can you. Maybe not in such a crazy adventure manner, but in a constructive purposeful life. Nonetheless, the check out the film.


The film "The Great Imposter" is about a man,  Ferdinand Waldo Demara, who embraced numerous identities and positions in his life.  Demara was called "The Great Imposter" with his photographic memory in assuming roles inside the power vacuum of institutions.  According to Wikipedia, his roles include...

According to Wikipedia,

Demara's impersonations included a naval surgeon,a civil engineer, a sheriff's deputy, an assistant prison warden, a doctor of applied psychology, a hospital orderly, a lawyer, a child-care expert, a Benedictine monk, a Trappist monk, an editor, a cancer researcher, and a teacher. One teaching job led to six months in prison.

With Tony Curtis in the starring role - which Curtis said was his favorite role - I fondly remember the film from childhood.  After all, who wouldn't want to have all these great identities and experiences? 

A fascinating story.

The Great Impostor is a 1961 American comedy-drama film movie based on the true story of an impostor named Ferdinand Waldo Demara. The film is loosely based on Robert Crichton's 1959 biography of the same name, it stars Tony Curtis in the title role, and was directed by Robert Mulligan. The film only loosely follows Demara's real-life exploits, and is much lighter in tone than the book on which it is based.


Plot - “The Great Imposter”

As he is arrested by the Coast Guard on an island in New England, a man born as Ferdinand Waldo Demara but known by many other identities recalls the events that brought him to this point.

Demara quit high school as a boy and joined the Army. He wanted to become an officer, but his lack of education worked against it. On a whim, he fakes a set of credentials and becomes a U.S. Marine.

When his lie is detected, Demara, facing jail, fakes a suicide and hides out as a Trappist monk. After a while, he is expelled from the monastery, captured and imprisoned in a military brig. But the warden inadvertently confides too many details of his own life to Demara, taking a liking to him. Upon his release, Demara impersonates the warden and lands a job working in a Texas penitentiary, where he takes up with his new warden's daughter, Eulalie.

Blackmailed by an inmate who recognizes him from the military jail, Demara once again flees. He joins the Royal Canadian Navy, using the forged credentials of a doctor. After falling in love with a RCN Nursing Sister, Catherine Lacey, he goes to Korea to serve aboard HMCS Cayuga. He ends up doing dental work on the ship's captain, then performing operations in a Korean hospital.

Hailed as a "miracle doctor," Demara gains publicity that exposes his past. The Navy finds out who he really is and intends to hold a court-martial. Nurse Lacey and others vow to testify on Demara's behalf, having seen his good side. Worried about possible disrepute to the RCN, and his stellar service, he is allowed to leave under a general discharge. He then goes and becomes a teacher in New England.

The FBI eventually comes up with an agent whose assignment is to track down the great impostor and capture him. In the end, the agent is revealed to be Demara himself.

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Michael Mandaville

Michael is a writer, filmmaker and dedicated World War II historian who studies martial arts, action films and is learning more about VFX every single darn day. Oh and a Scholar Warrior

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