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The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 July 1944 (USA)
Mystery writer Cornelius Leyden becomes intrigued when the murdered body of a vicious career criminal washes up in the Bosphorus.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dimitrios Makropoulos
...
Irana Preveza
...
Cornelius Leyden
Victor Francen ...
Wladislaw Grudek
Steven Geray ...
Karel Bulic
...
Madame Elise Chavez
...
Marukakis (as Edward Ciannelli)
Kurt Katch ...
Marjorie Hoshelle ...
Anna Bulic
Georges Metaxa ...
Hans Werner
...
Mr. Pappas
...
Abdul Dhris
David Hoffman ...
Konrad
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Storyline

A mystery writer named Leyden is intrigued by the tale of notorious criminal Dimitrios Makropolous, whose body was found washed up on the shore in Istanbul. He decides to follow the career of Dimitrios around Europe, to learn more about the man. Along the way, he is joined by mysterious Mr. Peters, who has his own motivation. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fabulous Tale OF A MAN OF MYSTERY!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Máscara de Dimitrios  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film of Zachary Scott. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Peters: [Repeated with small variations throughout the story] How little kindness there is in the world today!
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Connections

Referenced in The Man with Bogart's Face (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz
(uncredited)
from "Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48"
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played by the chamber orchestra during the party
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A compelling thriller about the life of a master criminal.
12 February 2001 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Mystery writer Cornelius Leyden (Peter Lorre) attends a dinner party where he is told about the recent discovery of the body of a master criminal by Colonel Haki, chief of the local police. When Leyden learns that the criminal, Dimitrios Makropoulos, avoided capture for years, and engaged in everything from smuggling, blackmail, murder, and political assassination, he becomes intrigued, and begins an odyssey which takes him to many exotic locals in a bid to meet the actual people who dealt with, and managed to survive, encounters with the ruthless Dimitrios.

Leyden meets Irana Preveya, who met Dimitrios when he barged into her apartment to seize a crust of bread when he was on the verge of starvation. In flashback, we see how her story unfolds. She begins by saying, "I have known many men, but I've only been afraid of one ... Demitrios."

Then Leyden meets Grodek, a master spy, (superbly played by Victor Francen). Grodek reveals how years ago he employed Dimitrios to steal a naval chart of some important mine fields. In flashback, we see how he and Dimitrios duped Bulic, a short, pudding faced government employee, (played by Steven Geray) by first causing him to fall into debt, then by coercing him to steal the chart from an office down the hall from his own post. It was almost too much watching these two suave criminals befuddle this kindly little man.

All the while, Leyden accidentally encounters a stout gentleman in trains, restaurants, and other places. But it's no accident. The man is Mr. Peters, played by Sydney Greenstreet. Greenstreet is interested in Leyden, because Leyden is interested in Dimitrios. They soon combine forces as the films surges towards a gripping climax.

This is one of the great films of the 40's. Zachary Scott, in his 1st film, gives an oscar caliber performance as the cunning, charming, and totally ruthless Dimitrios Makropolus. There are other great performances all around, and this may be the only film where Peter Lorre gets to play himself. His character is complex. At first Leyden seems to have a cavalier interest in Dimitrios, but he has a drive and perseverence that are not at once evident. Greenstreet is masterful as the charming and courteous Mr. Peters. Yet, just below the surface of his polite veneer, he is full of vengeance. This film is a must for those who love mystery and international intrigue.


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