Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Odd Man Out

Carol Reed, 1947, bw (8.8*)
#634, Top Ranked 1000 Films, 2011 Update, all polls.

Master British director Carol Reed made a perhaps even tighter, white-knuckle crime thriller with this gem. In one of his best roles, James Mason shines as a wounded IRA gunman, who is trying to escape a net of British police, and who is both helped and hindered by those along his route.

We are made to feel his personal terror as the camera stays with him, he’s a man alone in an urban war zone and fighting losing odds. This is easily the most intense role of Mason’s long and distinguished career, as he really is noted for cool, collected characters with an experienced and wise demeanor, and normally projects an aura of calm confidence, such as God in Time Bandits (1981) or as heaven’ representative in Heaven Can Wait (1978).

Carol Reed directed some of the best British postwar films. Mostly noted for the noirish The Third man (1949, bw), I liked Outcast of the Islands, from the Joseph Conrad novel, even more. It has a white man in an isolated tropical paradise who sells his soul for money, and it features some of the most haunting images in cinema, filmed during a torrential tropical rainstorm. Reed also directed the Oscar®-winning best picture Oliver! (1967), the musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist (filmed seriously first by David Lean and later by Roman Polanski).


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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