7 January 2011

ODD MAN OUT (Dir. Carol Reed, 1947, UK) - Man On The Run

Whilst I continue to rant and moan to myself and those I know about the current misery of the UK film industry and the seemingly lack of quality cinema from Britain, the work of Carol Reed comprising of Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol and The Third Man certainly suggests it was and still can be a possibility that an auteur based approach can flourish when given the right circumstances. Though Reed’s later work arguably fell short of his critically appraised films in the forties, his reputation as one of British cinema’s great film makers rests largely on the masterful overtures of The Third Man; a film which in my opinion is much stronger both ideologically and aesthetically than the Welles film everyone continues to point to as a benchmark – Citizen Kane. Odd Man Out unfolds over one night in the city of Belfast and sees a badly injured member of the IRA named Johnny McQueen, played to noirish perfection by James Mason, trying to evade capture from the police. Less political and more of an expressionistic nightmare, the cinematography by Robert Krasker offers a vivid exercise in lighting and camerawork that rivals the work of John Alton. A deeply fatalistic film, the politics of the Northern Ireland conflict emerge gradually and subtly through the episodic narrative. Timeless in every way.

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