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Film Studies 101
Feature
Become A Film Noir Expert In Ten Easy Movies
Master a genre in just a handful of films

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Become A Film Noir Expert In Ten Easy Movies | Odd Man Out (1947)
Odd Man Out (1947)

Director: Carol Reed
Cast: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack, Kathleen Ryan

Like John Boulting’s Brighton Rock, this is definitive proof that the Limeys could also make a decent fist at this most American genre. Carol Reed went on to direct classics like The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949), but the English director got the noir feel right first time with a political thriller set on the cobbled streets of Belfast. It was a ballsy choice, considering the controversy that was bound to cloud the film’s release – Irish nationalism was hardly catnip for audiences of the time. Reed’s conflicted antihero is Johnny McQueen (James Mason), an IRA man on the lam with a bullet in his chest, the arm of the law on his shoulder and only long-suffering girlfriend (Kathleen Ryan) prepared to fight his corner. It’s Mason’s film all the way, and the plight of his sweating, suffering nationalist is presented through the brain-bendiest POV shots this side of Enter The Void. The great Aussie cinematographer Robert Krasker may be better known for his work on The Third Man and Brief Encounter, but his and Reed’s Belfast (recreated on Denham Studios soundstages) is a thing of grimy menace, haunted by devious publicans, mad artists, underhanded bird-fanciers and fanatical gangsters. As the clock ticks, can the dying McQueen find salvation among this cast of ne’er-do-wells? Just try taking your eyes off it.
 

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