Carol Reed
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Bank Holiday (1938), ambientato durante una festività nazionale, mescola la commedia popolare e il dramma di una infermiera che, scoprendo di essersi innamorata del vedovo di una sua paziente, pianta il fidanzato ed accorre a salvare l'altro dal suicidio).

Night Train to Munich (1940), bellico a suspence e ad inseguimento:

Uno scienziato ceco fugge a Londra prima di cadere nelle mani dei nazisti, ma sua figlia cade prigioniera; i tedeschi la lasciano fuggire perché li porti dal padre, dopo di che rapiscono entrambi; il servizio segreto inglese manda allora un agente a Berlino. Dopo mille peripezie, i tre riescono a fuggire sulle alpi svizzere. Humour satirico nei confronti dei nazisti).

The Girl in the News (1942), thriller Hitchcockiano;

Young Mr. Pitt (1941) di costume.

Carol Reed emerse grazie a due valide trasposizioni, da Cronin, un dramma di minatori (l'appassionata The stars look down, 39) e da Wills, un'analisi piccolo-borghese (Kipps, 41), e, dopo una lucida dissertazione sul potere di coagulo della guerra nei confronti di diversa estrazione (The way ahead, 44), si propose nel dopoguerra come uno dei registi della rinascita, attento alla realtà sociale e maestro del mezzo tecnico, soprattutto con tre film di atmosfera: Odd Man Out (1947) è la cronaca della fuga di un attentatore irlandese braccato dalla polizia, dei suoi incontri notturni e della tragica fine all'alba, avvincente, ma poco originale (scene da Quai des brumes di Carnè, Pepe le moko di Duvivier, The Informer di Ford, M di Lang, etc...);

The Fallen Idol (1948) è un thriller psicologico che ha per protagonista un bambino solitario, figlio di un ambasciatore sempre in viaggio ed orfano di madre, che ha per unico compagno di giochi il maggiordomo; quando la moglie di questi precipita da una finestra, si scopre che l'uomo ha una relazione con una dattilografa e i sospetti della polizia sono confermati dalla testimonianza del bambino, deluso dalla doppia vita dell'amico adulto; a causa della sua crisi infantile, il maggiordomo rischia persino di essere condannato a morte;

(Translated by Ashley Reynolds)

Bank Holiday (1938), set during a national festival, blends popular comedy with the drama of a nurse who, discovering that she is in love with the widower of one of her patients, leaves her boyfriend and rushes to save the other from suicide.

Night Train to Munich (1940), war film of suspense and pursuit:

A Czech scientist flees to London to avoid falling into the hands of Nazis, but his daughter falls prisoner. The Germans let her get away so that she will lead them to the father, after which they capture both; so the British secret service sends an agent to Berlin. After a thousand ups and downs, the three succeed in fleeing to the Swiss alps. (The Nazis are treated with satirical humor.)

The Girl in the News (1942), Hitchcockian thriller;

Young Mr. Pitt (1941) costume picture.

Carol Reed stands out thanks to two effective transpositions; that of Cronin, a drama of miners (the passionate The stars look down, 39) and that of Wills, in an analysis of the petty bourgeois (Kipps, 41), and, after a lucid dissertation on the power of the agglomeration of the war towards those of different extraction (The way ahead, 44), he puts himself forward in the post-war years as one of the directors of the revival, attentive to the social reality and master of the technical medium, most of all with three atmospheric films: Odd Man Out (1947) is the story of the escape of an Irish attacker hunted by the police, of his nocturnal encounters and of the tragic ending of the hunt at dawn; gripping, but not very original (scenes from Carnè's Quai des brumes, Duvivier's Pepe le moko, Ford's The Informer, Lang's M, etc...);

The Fallen Idol (1948) is a psychological thriller that has as its protagonist a lonely little boy, son of an ambassador who is always away on business and orphaned by his mother, and who has only the butler for a playmate. When the butler's wife falls from a window, one discovers that he was having an affair with a typist; and the suspicions of the police are confirmed by the testimony of the boy, who is disillusioned by the double life of his adult friend. Because of his infantile crisis, the butler is at risk of being condemned to death.

The Third Man (1949, da Greene) è un poliziesco ambientato negli angiporti di una Vienna sinistra, distrutta dai bombardamenti e in piena guerra fredda. The Third Man (1949), adapted from Greene's novel, is a police thriller set in the underworld of a destitute Vienna, destroyed by the bombardments of world war II and torn by the conspiracies of the cold war. Orson Welles is a cynical smuggler of diluted penicilin who fakes his own death in a car accident. Post-war Vienna is a city that has been divided into American, British, Russian and French occupation zones, plus an international zone for the police. It is a city of murky political plots. It is also a city of ruins, where workers are working around the clock to restore buildings, streets and staircases.
The American writer Holly Martins (Cotten) flies to Vienna to meet his best friend Harry Lime (Welles). He waits in vain at the train station for Lime to show up. Eventually, Martins walks to Lime's apartment and learns from a porter that Lime has been killed, run over by a truck while crossing the street. Martins attends the funeral and meets the chief of the police, Major Calloway, who tells him of Lime's criminal activities in Vienna. Holly is shocked to learn that Lime was involved in murders, and refuses to believe the major.
Holly meets with the aristocrat "Baron" Kurtz who tells him how he and a "friend" carried the body after it was hit, but the "friend" has left Vienna. Kurtz tells him that the beautiful woman who was at the funeral is Anna, a showgirl. Holly meets her and learns that she is a Czeck refugee posing as an Austrian. Anna adds more disturbing details to the story of Lime's death: he was killed by his own car's driver, and his own doctor was passing by just at the time of the accident. Only close friends of Lime witnessed his death.
Calloway wants him to leave Vienna, but Holly refuses, determined to find out the truth.
Martins begins investigating his friend's last hours, especially after learning from the porter that the body of Limes was carried by three men. However, Calloway is more interested in the racket that Lime was running in Vienna than in his death. Obsessed with finding the identity of the "third man", Holly interrogates Kurtz, who plays violin in a night club, and then the other friend, the rumenian Popescu, who is back in town. Popescu denies that there was a third man.
The porter wants to tell Holly something but somebody kills him, and Holly has to run away because the crowd suspects him. Later, Holly has to avoid Popescu and two bodyguars and finds shelter in Calloway's office. Calloway tries again to dissuade Holly by telling him about Lime's worst crime: he was trafficking in diluted penicillin that caused the death of countless innocents, including children, at several Vienna hospitals.
Holly gets drunk and brings flowers to Anna. They console each other, both shattered by the revelations on Harry Lime's racket. Somebody has followed him and is spying from the street. When Holly leaves the house, the man follows him. Holly confronts him in the dark, deserted streets and finds out that it is...a smiling Harry Lime. But he rapidly disappears: the third man was... Harry himself. The dead man was someone else, and the murder was simply a way to protect Harry Lime, to stop the police from investigating him.
Holly calls Calloway, who at first doesn't believe him, but then finds a door leading to the sewers, an underworld where Harry Lime apparently now hides. The police opens Lime's coffin and finds that the corpse is that of a police informer who was doublecrossing Lime. Anna is arrested and blackmailed by the police: if she does not cooperate with them to frame Lime, they will deliver her to the Russians.
Holly asks Kurtz and the doctor, whom have been accomplices in Harry's fake death, to set up a meeting with Harry. They meet in a deserted amusement park, in a cabin of the giant Ferris Wheel, The evil and smiling Harry is absolutely nonchalant and friendly. Harry even admits that he betrayed Anna: that's how the police learned that she is not Austrian. Harry is unrepentant, totally indifferent to the fate of the innocents that they can observe from the top of the wheel. Realizing that Holly is now determined to destroy him, Harry tries to appease Holly with his twisted morality and even offers him to become a partner. Then he disappears again in the labyrinth of Vienna's neutral zone.
Holly decides to deliver Harry to the police in exchange for a passport for Anna. But Anna does not want to betray Harry, no matter what, and rips the passport. After visiting the young victims of Harry at the hospital, Holly accepts to frame Harry just for the sake of removing an evil being from the face of the earth. The police surrounds the meeting place, a cafe, but Anna shows up, alerted by Kurtz who has just been arrested. Harry, who has surveyed the scene from the rooftop, comes down to shoot Holly, but can't pull the trigger because Anna is in front of Holly, and has to flee. The police unleash a manhunt through the ruins and down into the sewers. There are hundreds of them. After a long pursuit, Harry's last gunshots echoing in the tunnel, he is wounded by Calloway and barely crawls away like a rat. Harry tries to exit the labyrinth through a manhole but can't lift the lid. Holly reaches Harry and reluctantly kills him.
This time the funeral is Harry's. Calloway and Holly leave again together, and Anna again leaves alone.
The long final shot shows Holly waiting for Anna and Anna passing him without even lifting her eyes.
A bit of Casablanca's noir atmosphere, of M's claustrophobic evil underworld, and of Welles' cinematic techniques.
Dopo il grande successo commerciale di questo film quasi espressionista, Reed cercò di ripetersi con altri film sulla guerra fredda, più marcatamente spionistici, dal melodrammatico. Outcast of the Islands (1951) is set in Malaysia, where friends and family search for a disappeared expatriate.

The Man Between (1953), idillio fra una turista inglese e una spia sovietica a Berlino ovest che si conclude con il sacrificio di questi per salvarle la vita, alla parodia di

Trapeze (1956) is a melodrama in which an aging trapeze star (Burt Lancaster) and his protege (Tony Curtis) fall for the same woman.

The Key (1958) is a comedy about a woman who causes trouble to her many lovers.

Our Man in Hawana (1959), la truffa compiuta da un umile negoziante inglese di Cuba ai danni del servizio segreto britannico, viso che questi è ansioso di trovare documenti di armi segrete e visto che i disegni ingranditi di particolari di aspirapolveri assomigliano incredibilmente a tali ipotetiche super armi (un suo amico viene coinvolto dai servizi segreti nemici, e nella guerra fra presunte spie che si scatena muoiono innocenti a catena, amico compreso).

Il resto della produzione di Reed è piuttosto sciolto, sempre più indirizzato sulla china del commerciale.

(Translated by Ashley Reynolds)

After the huge commercial success of this almost expressionistic film, Reed was looking to repeat himself with other films about cold war, more pronounced spy melodramas.

The man between (1953), a love affair between an English tourist and a Soviet spy in west Berlin that ends with the sacrifice of one in order to save the other's life; and the parody of Our man in Havana (1959), in which fraud is accomplished by a humble English shopkeeper in Cuba to the detriment of the British secret service, given that he is anxious to find secret army documents and that the particular developed vacuum cleaner plans resemble, incredibly, hypothetical super weapons. (One of his friends is implicated by the enemy secret service and in the war between presumed spies that is provoked, a chain of innocent people die, including the friend.)

The rest of Reed's films are rather weak, progressively more commercial.

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