When Aissa confronts Lingard as he searches for Willems, she meets him with a rock in her right hand. The next shot shows her crouching down with her right hand rubbing her abdomen - the rock has vanished. See more »
Interesting film, though I was somewhat disappointed
I am a big fan of THE THIRD MAN, I think it is one of the seven greatest movies ever made, I liked ODD MAN OUT, and also liked Reeds earlier effort of THE FALLEN IDOL. His latter film, THE KEY, while not being totally successful in my eyes in a good film, and an even better film is OUR MAN IN HAVANA. So I was excited about seeing this film. Perhaps if I was more patient, had seen this in a movie theater as it was meant to be seen, and did not have the benefit of a remote control for a VCR, I would have liked it more.
Everyone has said how great Trevor Howard is. I have also liked him in staring roles like Brief Encounter, Clouded Yellow, but here, even though he has some great moments, more towards the end of the film, I somehow feel he has been miscast. In one of the opening scenes, when he leaves the Billiards club, I felt I was watching Howard Imitating Orson Welles from THE THIRD MAN. if Reed and Welles could have formed a partnership, and that might have actually been from ODD MAN OUT, I think he would have been a better choice, though I'm sure they couldn't get him. One of the problems with his character is, that we realize right from the beginning what a jerk he is, and their fore, we never really care about him. This film would have worked better for me if I would have liked this guy in the beginning. Welle's Harry Lime, was a likable character, even though he was not a good man. Bogarts Harry Dobbs in Treasure Of the Sierra Madre works because we care about him in the beginning, and are sad to see his mental destruction. Howard's character elicits no such feelings, and for me this is one of the major failings of the film, and why this film has not received the accolades of Reed's previous three films.
I found Ralph Richardson's performance hammy, I just could not buy him as a captain, appeared to be a poor makeup job, and since we don't see him much, (He ironically got top billing), he does not appear to be important to this story, even if he gives the final denouncement. I also disliked George Courlouris (did I spell that right) as a native. Since they filmed this in Ceylon, they did not need an actor doing a role in black face.
Robert Morley is excellent in this film however. Those people who have always looked upon him as that jolly Englishmen who did those British Airline commercials, or seen him in other films, will get quite a revelation in this film. He is the one standout in this movie. One can just imagine how his daughter might turn out having a father like this. His character, while perhaps not being the character that Howard's character is, just oozes slime, would you want a father like this, and his acting makes the most of it. Wendy Hiller is alright as the suffering wife of Morely, and they should have made more of what I thought might have been her lust for the Howard character, while Howard's character lusts after the native woman, who, played by an actress named Kerima, who is supposed to have been born in Algeria, almost looks like an English actress given a darker skin tone, though probably not.
Reeds direction at the beginning of this film is unimaginative, I was quite disappointed with the back screen shots that were employed considering the location photography, and I always remember his great cinematography from his other films (Love that tilted camera). However never has lust been filmed so amazingly in an early 1950's movie, (British at that), here Howard is quite good, and the shots of Kerima, our realizing that she does not love this man and may have ulterior motives, in closeup, without Howards knowledge are well done. The last two climactic sequences, with Morely and Howard in a sequence that seems to predate Cornel Wilde's THE NAKED PREY, which probably sent shock waves in cinema's of the early 1950's, and the sequence at the end between Howard and Richardson are two very memorable moments from this film.
If the film comes out on DVD, with some interesting extras, a good audio commentary, I would be interested to see it again, and Hopefully get some further insight that might change my mind. However, of the six movies I have seen of Director Carol Reed, This is my least favorite.
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