7.2/10
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Ministry of Fear (1944)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 5 February 1945 (Sweden)
Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screenplay), Graham Greene (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ray Milland ... Stephen Neale
Marjorie Reynolds ... Carla Hilfe
Carl Esmond ... Willi Hilfe
Hillary Brooke ... Mrs. Bellane #2
Percy Waram ... Inspector Prentice
Dan Duryea ... Cost / Travers the Tailor
Alan Napier ... Dr. JM Forrester
Erskine Sanford ... George Rennit
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Storyline

Stephen Neale is released into WWII England after two years in an asylum, but it doesn't seem so sane outside either. On his way back to London to rejoin civilization, he stumbles across a murderous spy ring and doesn't quite know who to turn to. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 1945 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Espions sur la Tamise See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. An immediate local favorite, this film received its initial telecast in Omaha Thursday 18 December 1958 on KETV (Channel 7), followed by Chicago Monday 5 January 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2); it afterwards aired in Milwaukee 29 April 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Phoenix 10 May 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Seattle 9 July 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), in Minneapolis 22 September 1959 on WTCN (Channel 11), in Detroit 11 November 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Pittsburgh 25 November 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2), in Philadelphia 1 January 1960 on WCAU (Channel 10), in St. Louis 28 May 1960 on KMOX (Channel 4), in New York City 19 August 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles 7 July 1961 on KNXT (Channel 2), and in San Francisco 16 September 1961 on KPIX (Channel 5). The 2K digital restoration was released on DVD 12 March 2013 as part of the Criterion Collection, and it also now receives an frequent welcome cable television airing on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Goofs

The way that cake box was flung around and handled, the cake would have been crumbled and in clumps when he got it out to serve to the blind man on the train. At least, most of the frosting would have been stuck to the inside of the box. See more »

Quotes

Stephen Neale: Mr. Travers is quite put out.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Pulp Cinema (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beware when a psychic advices you to guess the weight of a cake
1 January 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

What a team! Graham Greene and Fritz Lang. What an actor! Ray Milland. What a movie! This one will stay with you for awhile. Though Greene did better work, i.e his masterpiece the screenplay for "The Third Man," and Lang did better work, "Metropolis, "M," "Fury." Together they make "Ministry of Fear" sizzle.

Today just about any movie from the 40's and 50's shot in black and white with darkness, rain, or shadows is labeled film noir. I don't really know if "Ministry of Fear" is a film noir as such but I do know it's great film making, somewhat along the lines of Hitchcock's "39 Steps." Ray Milland as Stephen Neale is mistaken for a go between espionage agent, called Cost or Travers depending on the circumstances, played to perfection by Dan Duryea. Neale guesses the weight of a cake as foretold by a fortune teller. Obviously the cake is valuable because immediately upon realizing their mistake the spy ring sets out to frame and kill Neale to retrieve the tasty morsel. Not to be missed is an exciting sequence aboard a train involving an alleged blind man. The rest of the movie filled with suspense, mystery, and intrigue involves Neal teaming with Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds--later of television's "Life of Riley" fame) and her brother to catch the culprits and discover what it's all about. Gradually Neal comes to suspect even Carla herself though by this time he's fallen madly in love with her. The feeling seems to be mutual. The denouement is a showdown between Neal and the spy ring which is exciting and a logical way to wrap up the movie.

Ray Milland walks off with the show even though the rest of the cast gives him able support. It's easy to see that Ray Milland was well on his way to winning the Oscar the very next year for his standout performance in Billy Wilder's "Lost Weekend." It was just a matter of time before his acting talent would be formally recognized. It's a good thing "Lost Weekend" came around for Milland for he never again played a role that so suited his abilities as an actor, though he still had many years ahead of him to be on the big screen.

The script is a witty one with many good lines. Though Lang's direction is good there are a few boring parts following the frame-up. A few more blind man type scenes would have helped tremendously. Still a very good espionage thriller of the old school with a title that reaches out and grabs you to make you want to see what the "Ministry of Fear" is all about.


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