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9 user 3 critic

The Heart of the Matter (1953)

Approved | | Drama | 8 February 1954 (USA)
An unhappily married British security officer stationed in Sierra Leone during WWII falls in love with a young German woman and starts an affair. He soon starts feeling guilty.

Writers:

(adapted by), (script)
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Harry Scobie
...
Louise Scobie
...
Helen Rolt
...
Wilson
...
Father Rank
...
Yusef (as Gerard Oury)
...
Portuguese Captain
...
Commissioner
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Storyline

An unhappily married British security officer stationed in Sierra Leone during WWII falls in love with a young German woman and starts an affair. He soon starts feeling guilty.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

africa | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

The instant...when a man must choose! Which woman? Which code? Which life?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 February 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Herz aller Dinge  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel from which the film is adapted, drew upon author Graham Greene's wartime experiences in Sierra Leone, where he was employed by Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: FREETOWN, 1942. See more »

Connections

Version of Das Herz aller Dinge (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Got Sixpence
(uncredited)
Written by Lawrence Hall, Desmond Cox and Elton Box
Heard in Yusef's house on the gramophone
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Guilt with a capital G
1 October 2013 | by See all my reviews

After watching The Heart Of The Matter for all the exotic atmosphere of a film set in Sierra Leone during World War II what the film boils down to essentially is a Catholic soap opera. Which would follow since it is based on a Graham Greene novel. Had lead character Trevor Howard not been Catholic, would this story had even occurred.

Howard gives a capable performance of a British colonial policeman who is stationed in Sierra Leone caught up in a mid life crisis. He's fallen out of love with wife Elizabeth Allan whom he sends away on money borrowed from a man who the authorities suspect of smuggling, an offensive looked at even more during wartime.

He also embarks on an affair with Maria Schell, an Austrian refugee who were others had been on a life raft for 40 days at sea after Allan has been sent away. That and the fact that he now has the appearance of impropriety has his superiors questioning him after accusations were brought by another civilian Denholm Elliott.

Nothing like Catholic guilt. His theological musings with Father Peter Finch bring him no solace. Howard's troubles are big, but he's his own harshest judge as per his religion.

Although The Heart Of The Matter was well received and it is a well acted story, it hasn't aged well in the past 60 years since it first came out. If anything it's one serious argument against Catholicism should one be considering converting.


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