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Odd Man Out (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  23 April 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 5,783 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 60 critic

A wounded Irish nationalist leader attempts to evade police following a failed robbery. Action takes place in Belfast, Northern Ireland.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
F.J. McCormick ...
Fay Compton ...
Denis O'Dea ...
W.G. Fay ...
Father Tom
Maureen Delaney ...
Theresa O'Brien
Elwyn Brook-Jones ...
Kitty Kirwan ...
Beryl Measor ...
Roy Irving ...


Johnny McQueen, leader of a clandestine Irish organization, has been hiding in the house of Kathleen and her mother, planning a hold-up that will provide his group with the funds needed to continue its activities. During the hold-up, things go sour: Johnny is wounded, cannot make it back to the hideout, and disappears in the back-alleys of Belfast. Immediately, a large-scale man-hunt is launched, and the city is tightly covered by the constabulary, whose chief is intent on capturing Johnny and the other members of the gang. Kathleen sets out in search of Johnny. Written by Eduardo Casais <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 April 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gang War  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


First British film to win the BAFTA award for Best British Film after the event was established in 1948. (see also The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)). See more »


When Johnny's three friends are fleeing the police, they run into a little square with a grocer's shop. The shop and the windows above it are lit up. As they run past it, a blind in the left-hand upper window is pulled down. Later, when Dennis tries to draw the police away from Johnny, he runs past the same shop. It can be seen that the blind is now back up again. See more »


Johnny McQueen: I remember. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put way childish things. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass or a inkling cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faiths so that I could remove mountains and have not charity... I am nothing.
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User Reviews

Kafkaesque allegory about the limits of man's compassion
25 August 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

It is the winter of 1946-47. Johnny McQueen (James Mason) is a revered leader of the Irish Republican Army in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recently escaped from prison, he plans to rob a mill to provide funds for the organization though his colleagues urge him not to be involved. Awarded Best British Film at the British Academy Awards and nominated for an Oscar for Best Editing, Odd Man Out, directed by Carol Reed (The Third Man), is the story of a botched robbery that leads to murder and the attempt of a seriously wounded man to elude capture. Pursued by "The Inspector" (Dennis O'Dea), Johnny is helped by Kathleen Sullivan (Kathleen Ryan), a young IRA woman who loves him and tries to smuggle him out of the city. He wanders helplessly in the dark streets and alleys of Belfast, buffeted by rain and snow, living in cellars with derelicts, constantly exposed to danger, looking more like a walking zombie than a revolutionary. The tone of the film is dark and Kafkaesque with its thin line between reality and nightmare.

Johnny is one of Mason's best roles especially during the early part of the film but he is submerged in the second half by a string of exaggerated supporting characters that include a demented painter Lukey (Robert Newton) who wants to paint his death mask, a priest (W.G. Fay) who wants to save his soul, sisters Rosie and Maudie (Fay Compton and Beryl Measor) who give him shelter but force him out, and con man Shell (F.J. McCormick) who wants to use him to make money. Odd Man Out is not a political film or even a suspense thriller but a surreal allegory of the limits of man's compassion. When Lukey looks at Johnny and says, "I understand what I see in him. The truth about us all", we can see ourselves -- running for our life, scared and alone, awaiting the encroaching night.

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