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Odd Man Out

James Mason , Robert Newton , Carol Reed    Unrated   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Film noir is a term usually associated with American films of the 1940s and 1950s, but this British classic from 1947 fits the definition in almost every respect. It's one of the milestone films of its era, highlighted by what is arguably the best performance in the illustrious career of James Mason, here playing the leader of an underground Irish rebel organization who is seriously wounded when a payroll heist goes sour. Left for dead by his accomplices on the streets of Belfast, he's forced to hide wherever he can find shelter and refuge, and as his gunshot wound gradually drains his life away, his lover (Kathleen Ryan) struggles to locate him before it's too late. Although the IRA and Belfast are never mentioned by name, this film was a daring and morally complex examination of Northern Ireland's "troubles," and its compelling tragedy hasn't lost any of its impact. A study of conscience in crisis and the bitter aftermath of terrorism, this was one of the first films to address IRA activities on intimately human terms. Political potency is there for those who seek it, but the film is equally invigorating as a riveting story of a tragic figure on the run from the law, forced to confront the wrath of his own beliefs in the last hours of his life. It was this brilliant, unforgettable film that established the directorial prowess of Carol Reed, whose next two films (The Fallen Idol and The Third Man) were equally extraordinary. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Hailed for its sensitive treatment of a difficult subject, "Odd Man Out" is a tale of ordinary people trapped in the web of Northern Ireland's troubles. Irish rebel Johnny McQueen (James Mason), maimed and bleeding, weaves an escape route through Belfast's seedy underground while each of his comrades falls prey to bounty hunters and police in director Carol Reed's (The Third Man) classic film noir.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an unlikely fantasy Oct. 6 2003
ODD MAN OUT portrays life in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland via the unlikely narrative structure of the episodic fantasy--that is, in the tradition of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THE WIZARD OF OZ; it is quite possible, in fact, that it influenced the Jim Jarmusch film DEAD MAN. James Mason plays Johnny McQueen, an Irish freedom fighter who is seriously wounded early in the film. As he wanders about the city in delirium, Johnny becomes a sort of talisman sought after by several eccentric characters for their own purposes, and he is reduced (or is it, elevated?) to the status of fatalistic symbol. The film presents us with an unlikely, outrageous, and irresistible portrait of an Ulster community, filmed by Carol Reed with delicious visual style. Every frame bursts with some brilliant image--the contrast of light and shadow, stunning camera angles, ingenious special effects, and snow in the night. In my opinion, the film rates slightly above Reeds THE THIRD MAN and slightly below his underappreciated THE FALLEN IDOL.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belfast for the uninitiated Nov. 23 2001
This complex and enthralling movie was ahead of its time by many decades. On the surface, it is a thriller about the I.R.A. (daring stuff for 1947!) and its Chief who takes to the Belfast alleyways to avoid the police dragnet after he is wounded in a holdup. This occurs near the beginning, so the film is almost all about his strange tragicomic adventures as he is forced to rely on the Belfast demi-monde, and they exploit him for their own purposes.
The strange characters he encounters, and the hallucinations he experiences turn this into something resembling a horror film, while the story has many points in common with Kafka's "The Trial".
Although the suspense never lets up for an instant, the real theme of the film is alienation and the state of grace, and there are some moving scenes where the wounded fugitive looks from a snowy alley into a bedroom with happy children playing or a phone booth with two housewives gossipping to each other as they share the phone. There are even biblical quotations to drive home the metaphysical theme.
People who know Carol Reed's films swear that this is the best; and all lovers of film noir are missing out if they haven't seen Odd Man Out, because it is probably the best one ever made. The camera work in the dim alleys is sufficient to classify this as an art film, although it was widely popular when it first came out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caro Reed's jewel 's crown May 3 2004
In this movie Carol Reed goes far beyond all his works, The third man, the fallen idol to name the most relevant.
What Reed depicts in this film is to ,ake a sociological surgeon about Ulster comunnity and through the dramatical fact of our wounded man, played superbly by James Mason, the script is consistent without melodramatic holes, so you gradually feel the tension and the predictable climax . But the storytelling is incredible, the scene in the bar and the effect of the beer's drop still remains in my mind. You may consider it like the most important political film made in U.K. till that moment.
Don't miss under any pretext watching this movie. It will surpass all your expectations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an extraordianry charactor actor June 28 2004
long after his death james mason remains one of the most extraordinary actors to have graced the screen. he posessed a beautiful, intelligent voice and is in a small league of such actors which would include edward g robinson, orson welles, ian holm, alec guinness, ralph richardson and a few others.
this film is a staple in his marvellous career and the film itself has an intensity that matches the acting of mason and reed's direction took full advantage of the powerhouse actor he had aquired.
dont hesitate
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars J A. Rank Orginization March 27 2000
A Great and florid story that almost plays like a real life news story.
James Mason is really up to the lead role and the rest of the cast including Robert Newton and Robert Beatty are fine.
If you are a real Mason and Carol Reed fan..look into the film " The Man Between" with Claire Bloom and Hildegard Neff..its very similiar in texture this this gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Carol Reed's Masterpiece, Mason's Career Surge March 16 2002
Belfast is a city of two faces. One city consists of bustling streets and energetic people with ready smiles. The other was that presented in this gripping film, that which the world media has focused on with increasing attention with the passage of time, the city of conflict where tensions accelerate to the boiling point and explode into violence.
"Odd Man Out" is a 1947 release which represents Carol Reed's first of three successively acclaimed international masterpieces. It was followed by "The Fallen Idol" with Ralph Richardson and Michelle Morgan and "The Third Man" with Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and the moving appearance in the last thirty minutes by Orson Welles. James Mason was also greatly assisted career-wise in his sensitive role as a young Nationalist underground leader living the last day of his life in a state of excruciating pain. Mason had earlier come to prominence in the 1945 release "The Seventh Veil" with Ann Todd. This role completed his momentum swing into the top ranks of international cinema stardom.
"Odd Man Out" and "The Third Man" have been selected as representative of British film noir at its finest. Reed uses shadows to compelling effect, while Robert Krasker, who would win an Oscar for Cinematography in "The Third Man," handled the camera with equally consummate skill in "Odd Man Out." The Reed-Krasker team present compelling silhouettes of characters who cross the path of Mason, whose face reveals the requisite painful sensitivity as underground gang leader Johnny McQueen.
The film begins with the clock in the main square striking noon and ends at the ring of midnight.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece from Carol Reed
This film is a classic from Carol Reed, director of The Third Man. The story covers one day in the life of an IRA gunman who is gravely wounded in a heist in Belfast. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2011 by Dr. Pat O'Neill
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie: Limited DVD
Well I am not going to delve into facts expressed more eloquently by all those that preceeded me. Suffice to say that the movie is fantastic, so much so that 25 years since I last... Read more
Published on June 9 2003 by "jalarium"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Memory.
As an old movie buff, ODD MAN OUT has always ranked as one of my all time favorites, although I hadn't seen it in years until this past weekend. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars James Mason is the best
This is a fantastic film noir, one of the few from Britain that can be said to be up there with the very best. Read more
Published on May 1 2000 by samivel
5.0 out of 5 stars Best & Most Heartbreaking Film of All Movies I've Ever Seen
This is the greatest film I've ever seen. No one I know (of the dozens I've urged to see it) has ever disliked it, and it has become for others, their favorite movie too. Read more
Published on April 9 1999 by Thomas R. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars A truely superb film
This movie was so ahead of its time. It is bleak, honest, wonderfully acted, intelligently written, exquisitly photographed, and all an around great motion picture. It's perfect.
Published on March 9 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Film art at its highest
Even if Carol Reed had never made "The Third Man", he would be one of my favorite directors based on this film alone. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 1999 by Brian P. Stack
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