Odd Man Out
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

Set in Northern Ireland (filmed in Belfast) during the post-WWII Irish-British Troubles, 'organisation' leader Johnny McQueen (James Mason) plans a factory hold-up that goes sour. Johnny is shot in the shoulder by an armed cashier whom Johnny then kills. When he falls off the getaway car and is left behind, Johnny is forced into hiding in the back-alleys while trying to elude the police and make it back to the hideout. Along the way, he is helped and betrayed by numerous individuals, including bird-fancier Shell (F.J. McCormick), artist Lukey (Robert Newton), barman Fencie (William Hartnell), failed medical student Tober (Elwyn Brook-Jones), kindly priest Father Tom (W.G. Fay), and two sympathetic nurses, Maureen (Ann Clery) and Maudie (Beryl Measor). Meanwhile, Johnny's gang members and his girlfriend, Kathleen Sullivan (Kathleen Ryan), are also searching for him.

Yes. Odd Man Out is also a 1945 novel by British author F(rederick) L(aurence) Green. The book was adapted for the movie by both Green and British writer R(obert) C(edric) Sherriff.

Odd Man Out does not take sides, focusing instead on the individual characters and their bundle of human behaviors -- fear, betrayal, greed, love, panic, mercy, etc. -- as they encounter Johnny in his attempt to get back to Kathleen's house where the gang is holding up. In fact, the movie opens with the following statement: 'This story is told against a background of political unrest in a city of Northern Ireland. It is not concerned with the struggle between the law and an illegal organisation, but only with the conflict in the hearts of the people when they become unexpectedly involved.'

The men are a bit uneasy about his fitness for the task, having noticed a change in him since his escape from prison. He has expressed his new belief that negotiation might achieve their goals more effectively than violence.

The gang members are Dennis (Robert Beatty) (Canada), Nolan (Dan O'Herlihy) (Dublin), Murphy (Roy Irving) (London), and Pat (Cyril Cusack) (born in South Africa). Of the four, only Cusack grew up in Northern Ireland and has a proper accent. Except for James Mason (raised in Yorkshire, England), all of Johnny's gang members, including Kathleen, were actors with Dublin's Abbey Theatre, which was founded and directed by W.G. Fay (Father Tom). The street urchins, however, were recruited from a local orphanage and display Northern Ireland accents.

While Johnny, near death, is being tended to by Tober and painted by Lukey, Kathleen arranges passage on a ship for herself and Johnny. She then returns to Father Tom's church to wait for Johnny. While Tober and Lukey argue about what to do with Johnny's body (call an ambulance versus painting him), Shell helps Johnny walk out the door and through the snow on the way to Father Tom's. Trying to elude the police, Shell leaves Johnny lying behind some bushes and continues on to the church where he is intercepted by the waiting Kathleen. She goes after Johnny and leads him to the boatyard, but he collapses as the police arrive. 'Is it far?' Johnny asks Kathleen. Holding him in her arms, she replies, 'It's a long way, but I'm coming with you.' She reaches into her coat pocket, draws out a gun, and starts shooting. The police shoot back. In the final scene, the police cover their bodies with raincoats while Father Tom and Shell walk away sadly.


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