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Author Topic: Odd Man Out (1947)  (Read 3674 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: March 06, 2012, 05:25:47 PM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039677/

Odd Man Out (1947)

---------------------------------------------

There is one previous post on this movie, from the Film Noir Discussion Thread,  

by Jill http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg145707#msg145707

Odd Man Out (1947) - 8/10

Oh my, James Mason is beautiful in this! And he looks even better when suffering. And the athmosphere... perfect noirness.

I loved all those weird supporting characters - they aren't seen in movies lately. But they were somehow there in the French poetic realist films too. It's very close to those.

One thing that keeps it from 10: the ending could have been more dramatic if we'd actually see them on the ground from closer.


« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 02:46:10 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 05:29:51 PM »

Cast, courtesy of imdb:

James Mason    ...   Johnny McQueen
    Robert Newton    ...   Lukey
    Cyril Cusack    ...   Pat
    F.J. McCormick    ...   Shell
    William Hartnell    ...   Fencie
    Fay Compton    ...   Rosie
    Denis O'Dea    ...   Inspector
    W.G. Fay    ...   Father Tom
    Maureen Delaney    ...   Theresa O'Brien
    Elwyn Brook-Jones    ...   Tober
    Robert Beatty    ...   Dennis
    Dan O'Herlihy    ...   Nolan
    Kitty Kirwan    ...   Grannie
    Beryl Measor    ...   Maudie
    Roy Irving    ...   Murphy


The movie, which is about a wounded Irish nationalist (James Mason) trying to escape from the police, opens with the following text:

"This story is told against a background of political unrest in a city of Northern Ireland.

It is not concerned with the struggle between the law and an illegal organisation, but only with the conflict in the hearts of the people when they become unexpectedly involved."




-- This is a British movie. The dvd has not released in Region 1; rather, but it is available as an NTSC region-free dvd from Korea, (you can get it on eBay dirt cheap; I bought it brand new for $6.74 including shipping). In English with optional Korean subtitles

-- I did not like this film nearly as much as Jill did.


-- This movie is very reminiscent of The Informer.

--  The entire movie, including the nighttime outdoor scenes which comprise the majority of the movie, was very obviously shot in a studio, which is very disappointing. There is really no sense of location at all. But there is plenty here for people who are very into the noir style: there are lots of outdoor night scenes with fog and smoke and rain and snow, dark shadows both indoor and out, on tight urban streets and alleyways.

-- Kathleen Ryan is very good.



SPOILER ALERT

-- I am a HUGE James Mason fan, but unfortunately, in this movie he doesn't get much of a chance to display his talents, as he pretty much spends the whole movie crawling around like a wounded animal. That's why this is not nearly as interesting as The Informer. In that movie, McLaglen really is a lead, and he is awesome; but as great an actor as James Mason is, there is only so much you can do crawling around severely injured in an alleys and side streets. As the opening text says, this movie really isn't much about the main character, but about how the people who come into contact with the main character deal with him. So this is one of the most helpless main characters you'll ever see in a movie, one who doesn't control any of the action at all, and is significant only insofar as how others deal with him.

Initially, when I saw that opening text, I figured it had something to do with the British censorship office (that's what I usually think when I see text in early movies, cuz in so many movies released during the censorship era, text on the screen often has to do with pleasing the censor of those movies). But in this case, the text really is an accurate description of what the movie is about.

6/10

« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 11:22:07 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 07:05:50 PM »

I liked it, I'm with Jill on this one, a simple tale beautifully told visually, along the lines of Barry Lyndon the score grows on you as it builds to a climax in the snow. 8/10

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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 11:41:48 PM »

I liked it, I'm with Jill on this one, a simple tale beautifully told visually, along the lines of Barry Lyndon the score grows on you as it builds to a climax in the snow. 8/10

I knew you would like it, cj, cuz it really is a "noir's noir" Wink

But doesn't it bother you when a movie that takes place almost entirely outdoors is so obviously shot entirely in a studio? It doesn't look like they used a single actual street. So even the dark alley/narrow side streets stuff is so artificial.

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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 04:52:04 AM »

I knew you would like it, cj, cuz it really is a "noir's noir" Wink

But doesn't it bother you when a movie that takes place almost entirely outdoors is so obviously shot entirely in a studio? It doesn't look like they used a single actual street. So even the dark alley/narrow side streets stuff is so artificial.

No it doesn't bother me because that is what Noir was originally, almost all the classic WWII war period Noirs were shot on studio lots and sound stages. Once the war ended and restrictions on electricity, film, and location shooting were eased Noir went into its neo-realistic phase.

I suggest though you rent Black Narcissus (not a Noir) and see what can be achieved on a studio sound stage, you'd be amazed.

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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 03:30:48 PM »

I remember liking this one but details escape me. Except the scene with the beer suds.
I suggest though you rent Black Narcissus (not a Noir) and see what can be achieved on a studio sound stage, you'd be amazed.

Hear hear.

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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 09:25:56 PM »

I remember liking this one but details escape me. Except the scene with the beer suds.


The beer suds stuff (which, as I recall, happens in more than one scene) was ridiculous.

btw, what did y'all think of this movie as compared to The Informer?

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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 02:30:44 AM »

I for one don't remember well enough to comment on it, sorry.

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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 09:59:09 AM »

I like The Informer but I don't see much basis for comparison with Odd Man Out. IRA setting and expressive photography but very different storywise.

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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2013, 09:24:48 AM »

The italian distributor cut a lot for distribution but I would have cut even more: all the crappy padre and demented painter episodes suck. Even the half demented bird-lover character has too much room in the story. The movie works well as a thriller but it wants to aim higher and fails. The Pepè Le Moko finale is irritating. 7\10 (Apparently Mason couldn't find a doctor but a barber was at hand)

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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2014, 07:31:27 AM »

I just noticed this:

http://blog.criterioncast.com/post/81376346477/carol-reeds-odd-man-out-is-now-available-for

Does anyone know if this mean Criterion will also be releasing it as a BD, or if some of their licenses are restricted to streaming only?

I actually already have the Network BD release which is great (http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Odd-Man-Out-Blu-ray/40414/) but am always curious to see what happens when Criterion get their mitts on things.

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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2014, 10:15:19 AM »

Criterion's newsletter gives a hint each month, in the form of a cartoon, regarding an upcoming release (on DVD and Blu). This month's cartoon depicted an oddly attired man (an "odd man"?) sliding into home plate and being signaled "out" by the umpire. The consensus is that the hint refers to Odd Man Out. Sounds reasonable to me too.

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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2014, 08:05:26 PM »

Just checked the cartoon out. This all sounds very promising.

Now Criterion just needs to get the rights to "The Fallen Idol" back so they can do a BD release.

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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2014, 08:08:49 PM »

Great to hear about a potential Criterion release. Afro The prints of this I've seen were mediocre-to-terrible.

I rewatched Odd Man Out a few weeks back and reviewed it thus:

Quote
Carol Reed's first masterpiece is Odd Man Out (1947).  It's just as stylish as The Third Man but even more affecting: structured like a classic tragedy, Reed promises genre thrills before descending into a snow-blown hell.

Johnny Macqueen (James Mason) leads several IRA gunmen in a Belfast bank robbery. During their escape, Johnny is shot and left behind. Johnny tries hiding from authorities, fleeing across the city while nursing a wound. Various characters, some helpful and others suspicious, encounter Johnny while his confederates and police try to reach him.

Odd Man Out starts as a standard thriller, then immediately subverts expectations. The heist occurs ten minutes in, our hero is crippled and reduced to a walking Macguffin. Obvious plot developments are foiled: the police quickly neutralize Johnny's cell, leaving his girlfriend Kathleen (Kathleen Ryan) to try rescuing him. Avoiding political statements, Reed makes Johnny a reluctant terrorist, devoted to Irish freedom but lamenting violence. Yet Reed surprises by rendering the IRA and their police nemesis (Denis O'Dea) equally sympathetic.

Odd Man Out probes ordinary citizens caught in-between An old woman (Maureen Delaney) tips off the cops; loopy artist Lukey (Robert Newton) just wants to paint Johnny's portrait. Most try not to involve themselves, like Maude (Beryl Measor) and Maureen (Ann Clery), two kindly ladies who dress Johnny's wounds, then fret over the terrorist in their midst. Johnny, unwilling to entrap innocents in his fight, politely excuses himself. This touches Maude's previously-hostile husband (Roy Irving), who offers Johnny a cap, a drink and even disposes of his pistol. This vignette exhibits more humanity than most full-length movies.
Odd Man Out's required set pieces play well, like a nocturnal alley chase prefiguring The Third Man's sewer climax. But viewers remember Robert Krasker's oppressive, Expressionist photography and Reed's surreal touches. Johnny imagines a dark alley morphing into his prison cell; later, he sees acquaintances' faces in beer suds, an image borrowed by Godard and Scorsese. Or Johnny delivering a deranged homily to a gallery of paintings. That prefigures the snow-swept climax, with Johnny and Kathleen facing the police together. It's nearly the bleakest finale offered by any '40s movie.

James Mason gets enough characterization early on that we empathize with his plight. Mason conveys anguish and guilt, hoping for redemption. Kathleen Ryan is likeable, if not so fleshed out. Robert Newton gets the showiest role as a mad artist, but other costars register better: Cyril Cusack's hard-edged terrorist, Denis O'Dea's taciturn cop, William Hartnell's conflicted friend, Beryl Measor and Ann Cleary's befuddled civilians.

Odd Man Out's bleakness probably accounts for its obscurity. It's not as "fun" as The Third Man, with the amiably monstrous Harry Lime and playful zither music. But its peerless direction, rich character cameos and relentless doom make Odd Man Out a masterpiece on its own. 9/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2014/09/odd-man-out.html

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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2014, 08:17:59 PM »

"Odd Man Out starts as a standard thriller, then immediately subverts expectations. The heist occurs ten minutes in, our hero is crippled and reduced to a walking Macguffin."

A walking Macguffin?

I think the viewers are genuinely concerned with Mason's fate.

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