Rogue Male is a 1976 British television film starring Peter O'Toole, based on Geoffrey Household's novel Rogue Male. Made by the BBC, it was adapted by Frederic Raphael and directed by Clive Donner, and also stars Alastair Sim, John Standing and Harold Pinter. It was first transmitted on 22 September 1976.
In early 1939, before the start of the Second World War, Sir Robert Hunter (O'Toole) takes aim at Adolf Hitler with a high-powered rifle, but misses when he is spotted and tackled by an SS guard. Captured and tortured by the Gestapo, he is then left for dead, but manages to make his way back to England where, to his shock, he discovers the Gestapo has followed him. Believing that the government would, in all likelihood, turn him over to German authorities, Sir Robert goes underground (literally) to escape his pursuers.
Peter O'Toole as Sir Robert Hunter
John Standing as Major Quive-Smith
Alastair Sim as The Earl
Harold Pinter as Saul Abrahams
Michael Byrne as Interrogator
Mark McManus as Vane
Ray Smith as Fisherman
Hugh Manning as Peale
Robert Lang as Jessel
Cyd Hayman as Rebecca
Ian East as Muller
Philip Jackson as 1st Seaman
Nicholas Ball as 2nd Seaman
Maureen Lipman as Freda
Ray Mort as Gerald
Michael Sheard as Hitler
Shirley Dynevor as Eva Braun
Ivor Roberts as Drake
The story had been previously filmed in 1941 by Fritz Lang as Man Hunt, with Walter Pidgeon in the lead role.
According to producer Mark Shivas, script editor Richard Broke had the idea of making six TV movie thrillers for the BBC which showed the changing nature of the British hero from 1918 to 1939, with Rogue Male to be the last. Shivas was then working on an adaptation of The Glittering Prizes with writer Frederic Raphael and commissioned Raphael to adapt Rogue Male. Raphael went back to the original novel and ignored the 1941 film version. Shivas felt there were three things any version of Rogue Male had to have: the attempted assassination of Hitler at the beginning of the story, the chase on the London Underground, and the battle underground at the end. Filming took 25 days and involved 29 locations. (Shivas would make two other in the series, She Fell Among Thieves and The Three Hostages.)
Interviewed by the Radio Times for the first screening of the film, Household explicitly acknowledged that he always intended the protagonist's target to be Hitler: "Although the idea for Rogue Male germinated from my intense dislike of Hitler, I did not actually name him in the book as things were a bit tricky at the time and I thought I would leave it open so that the target could be either Hitler or Stalin. You could take your pick."
Some of the filming took place around King's Stag in Dorset and, notably, around the "Green Man" pub.
In an interview with Francine Stock for BBC Radio 4's Film Programme in 2007, Peter O'Toole named this film as his favourite from his long career.