The Great Pretender w/t (1 x 60′) – After four decades, America’s most notorious con man has been caught – unravelling a shocking and extraordinary story of multiple identities and deception that stretches from a Bavarian village to California, where, in January 2012, he was charged with murder. With access to people that knew him at every step of his journey this documentary paints a portrait of the man who started life as Christian Gerhartsreiter, a poor country boy from a tiny mountain village in Upper Bavaria and who pursued the American dream for three years, ending up as Clark Rockefeller – banker, socialite and member of one of America’s richest families, married to a successful business woman and living in a $2 million townhouse with a country estate in the grandest part of New Hampshire.
Over four decades Clark Rockefeller had created and lived five entirely separate identities: he was a relative of Earl Mountbatten and member of the British Royal family; the son of the British single-handed sailor Sir Frances Chichester; a Film Noir director, responsible for all the Hitchcock remakes; a Wall Street trader and flamboyant figure on the New York art scene; and finally, he was a Boston grandee, member of the finest East Coast Clubs, ex-husband to a Harvard MBA living in London and proud father. It was only when he tried to snatch his seven year old daughter from a social worker on the streets of Manhattan in 2008 that police began to unearth the truth.
With access to the FBI, former police detectives and key players close the case The Great Pretender documents the many lives of one man, capable of astonishing deceit and manipulation. This is a gripping and revelatory account of the most complex con America has ever known.
Channel: Channel 4 (True Stories strand)
Producer: Blast! Films
TX: Spring / Summer 2012
Source: Channel 4 press release