ODD MAN OUT
Wednesday, May 15
(1947) Snow drifting down a once-elegant stairwell from a broken skylight; a little girl with only a single roller skate; a seemingly omnipresent clock tower that counts down the hours to a midnight resolution; and a bank job to fill the coffers of the Organisation (the IRA, though unnamed) gone sour: one man is dead, Cyril Cusack and Dan O’Herlihy panic and go on the booze, and James Mason’s Johnny McQueen is badly wounded and on the run. And as his path to Calvary runs on from sunny afternoon to pouring evening to snowy night, it moves from suspenseful Noir to the almost surreal, while he’s sought by icy policeman Denis O’Dea, unspoken lover Kathleen Ryan, and ally Robert Beatty, with Good Samaritan Fay Compton dressing his wounds, bum F.J. McCormick calculating what he’s worth, bartender William Hartnell wanting him out, and barmy artist Robert Newton trying to paint his look of death – but is there a ship out? “The most complex manhunt ever filmed” (Pauline Kael) – and the first of the trilogy that would make Reed world renowned and set him on the path of Britain’s first cinema knighthood; with Robert (Third Man) Krasker’s spectacular b&w photography making moody settings and the (unnamed) Belfast locations into a true city of dreadful night. 35mm. Approx. 115 min.
Part of Carol Reed’s Post-War Noir Trilogy.
“It is hard to overestimate the importance of Odd Man Out to British cinema… Begins with the perfect realism of daylight robbery and proceeds through dream and hallucination toward religious expressionism.”
– David Thomson
“Reed insinuates details that stick in the mind like the opening lines in a fairy tale. Krasker fills his nightscapes with wraithlike shadows and dazzling illuminations… draping Reed’s people in mists or spotting them in streetlights and headlamps, outlining them in doorways or profiling them against window shades…Through it all, Mason crawls and crumples his way to immortality, as a man who must measure the rest of his life out in heartbeats… Odd Man Out puts astonishing film craft at the service of a unique humane vision. We may never see its like again.”
– Michael Sragow
“Among the greatest movies of world cinema! A complex, doom-laden thriller.”
– Phillip French, The Observer
“AN ECCENTRIC MASTERPIECE.”
– Time Out (London)