7.8/10
5,394
58 user 59 critic

The Fallen Idol (1948)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 25 October 1948 (UK)
Trailer
1:23 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.

Director:

Writers:

(story "The Basement Room"), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Odd Man Out (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack
Legends Unfolding (TV Series 2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Legends Unfolding is a television series that follows the lives of people who have experienced extraordinary events.

Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pickpocket unwittingly lifts a message destined for enemy agents and becomes a target for a Communist spy ring.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter
World of Education (TV Series 2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

China is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, 300 million of whom are of the Chinese middle and upper-class who are directing their sights on foreign education to develop ... See full summary »

Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
Travel the World: Europe (TV Mini-Series 2013)
History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Travel in the World: Visiting sights around the world, with in-depth introductions to the culture by a local host.

Stars: Hong Yan
David Kilgour: Uncut (TV Mini-Series 2014)
History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

An intimate one-on-one in-depth interview series with Canada's renowned former secretary of state on the issue of organ pillaging in China.

Stars: David Kilgour
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbor to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eiffel Towers.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James
World of Auction (TV Mini-Series 2012)
History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

World of Auction explores two of Europe's finest antiques and auction houses: Bukowskis and Auktionsverket, both located in Stockholm, Sweden. The mini-series delves into the rich world of fine art and precious artifacts.

Stars: Hong Yan
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of some of the fortune she thinks he has.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea
Short | Action | Music

Musician/songwriter Nicolas Stromback is tossed between worlds of inhabitants displaying varying degrees of human behavior.

Director: Normann Bjorvand
Stars: Nicolas Stromback, Ellen Nilsson, Alex Fatehnia
The Servant (1963)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The aristocratic Tony moves to London and hires the servant Hugo Barrett for all services at home. Barrett seems to be a loyal and competent employee, but Tony's girlfriend Susan does not ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sonia Dresdel ...
...
Denis O'Dea ...
...
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Dandy Nichols ...
Joan Young ...
Karel Stepanek ...
First Secretary
Gerard Heinz ...
...
Policeman
James Hayter ...
Perry
Geoffrey Keen ...
Detective Davis (as Geoffrey Keene)
...
Edit

Storyline

Philippe, a diplomat's son and good friend of Baines the butler, is confused by the complexities and evasions of adult life. He tries to keep secrets but ends up telling them. He lies to protect his friends, even though he knows he should tell the truth. He resolves not to listen to adults' stories any more when Baines is suspected of murdering his wife and no-one will listen to Philippe's vital information. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 October 1948 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El ídolo caído  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,030 (USA) (10 February 2006)

Gross:

$141,502 (USA) (20 October 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The key to getting a performance from Bobby Henrey was the remarkable relationship between the young actor and his director. Carol Reed welcomed the challenge, knowing that if he worked well with Bobby he would get something not always easily achieved with an adult actor, the sense of uninhibited connection with a role, without any self-consciousness. "But with the right sort of child such as Bobby, there is nothing in the way," Reed said. "There is absolutely no resistance. He will do everything you tell him." See more »

Goofs

When Julie leaves the tea shop and closes the shop door, there is an Open / Closed sign hanging on the glass pane of the door. But when Baines and Phillipe leave the tea shop a minute or so later, the sign is no longer there. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Baines: Good day, sir... In his office there, miss.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Adult Mysteries Through A Child's Confused Eyes--and a Beautiful Camera
16 March 2006 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"The Fallen Idol" builds on a classic situation of English children's literature--the lonely rich kid from overseas in the big house left with hired caregivers-- to create a masterful suspense tale that deftly examines truths and half-truths, lies and white lies from the boy's confused perspective.

Based on Graham Greene's short story "The Basement Room", the film builds on the look of Hitchcock's "Rebecca", with a house as visually significant as Manderlay, plus fraught with Lillian Hellman's sophisticated view of childhood as in "These Three". Key is not just Georges Périnal's enthralling story, but the stunning direction by Carol Reed in how he uses gorgeous black and white cinematography from both a memorable interior and a London that ranges from scary night to a misleadingly bright daylight that is equally full of secrets, as seen in a new 35 MM print at NYC's Film Forum.

The beautiful production design is dominated by a gorgeous staircase in the ambassador's residence that has to rank with one of the all time movie centerpieces as in "Gone With The Wind", and is as central for the first and last third of the film as the Rear Window in another Hitchcock film. Reed has the camera go up and down those heavily symbolic stairs as a shared link from the main floors that are the busy public areas, down to the basement servant quarters then up and up to the private residential areas, with overlooking balconies and windows that are key for spying on each level. The staircase sets up several dramatic events (adding layers to the film's title), climaxing in a notable scene of the incredibly tense voyage of a child's innocent-seeming paper airplane that carries a significant clue slowly, slowly traversing that vertical no-man's/everyman's land from the top to the bottom, as we hold our breath where it will land.

Throughout the film, the complex world of adult relationships and interactions is seen through the eyes of a child (the wonderfully natural, lively, lisping Bobby Henrey - who now lives in Connecticut and did a Q & A at the Film Forum I didn't attend) so that childish activities take on ironic or double meanings of freedom or dread, between appearances and reality, from a good night story, to a game of hide and seek, to a picnic, to running away, to an idyll at the zoo that one would assume inspired Rowling for a key scene in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Throughout the film, the boy constantly misunderstands what he is seeing - sometimes he sees the truth, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he only sees part of the truth, as the adults alternate in advising him to lie or don't lie.

The young Ralph Richardson is absolutely marvelous as he switches from father substitute to hen-pecked husband (Sonia Dresdel as his wife recalls Agnes Moorhead), to relaxed lover, to efficient butler.

While this new print revival is being distributed as a forgotten masterpiece, my parents vividly remembered seeing it first run in their neighborhood Brooklyn movie theater and that it was quite popular. I presume that the same team's next work on the masterpiece "The Third Man" overshadowed this gem in film history, but also perhaps because this film doesn't end on quite the cynicism that a contemporary audience expects from their work.


32 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I get to meet Bobby Henrey in person! DavidW1947
I didn't care for Phillipe. Okada_Toru
Favourite line? emmas_place2003
that kid ncblue66
Interesting shots of London Zoo in the forties clive-ihd
Mrs. Baines was a real bitch. richsass
Discuss The Fallen Idol (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?