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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE FALLEN IDOL

3:15   7:25

Sunday, May 29

FROM THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF THE THIRD MAN

Written by Graham Greene

Directed by Carol Reed

NEW RESTORATION

(1948) Looks like eight-year-old Phil (Bobby Henrey) will
 have his cavernous Belgravia Square Embassy to himself for 
the weekend. Dad the ambassador is off to retrieve Mom from 
a long hospital stay, so his only companions will be his beloved
 pet, MacGregor the snake; his idol, Baines the butler (Ralph Richardson); and his dreaded nemesis, the snake-hating
 Mrs. Baines (Sonia Dresdel). And when Phil trails Baines 
to a tea room tryst with embassy staffer Julie (Gallic
 legend Michèle Morgan: see Port of Shadows in our 
“Les Durs” series in July), he becomes the solemn 
bearer of a Secret. But when an idyllic afternoon at the zoo is topped by a night time tragedy, and the soft-spoken police arrive to ask all those polite questions, Phil enters a world of lies that protect, lies that implicate, and eventually, truth that no one listens to. The first collaboration of writer Graham Greene and director Carol Reed (their next: The Third Man) was based on Greene’s story “The Basement Room.” Honored in its time (The New York Film Critics named Reed Best Director and both Reed and Greene were Oscar-nominated), Fallen Idol has tended to get lost as the middle child of Reed’s great “Noir” period (between Odd Man Out and The Third Man). Seen again, it effortlessly combines a sensitive child’s-eye-view of the world with suspense that rivals Hitchcock — just follow the flight of the fateful paper airplane. DCP Restoration. Approx. 94 mins.

Reviews

“BRILLIANT!”
– Matt Prigge, Metro 

Listen to star Robert Henrey discuss The Fallen Idol on WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show here

“Every bit as worthy as [Odd Man Out and The Third Man]. The trio of Greene, Reed and producer Alexander Korda, as well as an expert cast toplined by Ralph Richardson, turned a story involving adult secrets and childhood fantasies into a classically well-made movie that is both unexpected and exceptionally gripping. As The Third Man’s admirers can testify, impeccable construction, keen psychological acuity and moral complexity are the hallmarks of Reed’s pictures from this period. In Idol, a terrific amount of emotional tension is added to the mix, a sense of possible impending doom that bespeaks a movie that knows what it is about…The best part of this picture, however, is the performance of Richardson, an actor not enough celebrated these days whose quietly insinuating voice and brilliantly equivocal presence make a marvelous impression.”

– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Read the full review here
 

“Its vertiginous black-and-white cinematography is every bit [The Third Man]’s equal.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“SUPERB SUSPENSEFUL ENTERTAINMENT! Stands as one of the great films about looking, about perspective, about the way we watch and interpret not just film plots but each other.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice 

“A FILM OF EXCEPTIONAL DISTINCTION!”
– David Lodge, The Guardian (UK)

“ONE OF THE GREATEST MASTERPIECES OF POST-WAR BRITISH CINEMA! A shattering challenge to childhood ideals and an exploration of adult moral complexity.”
– David Parkinson, Empire Magazine (UK)

“REMAINS UNSURPASSED!”
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“One of the brilliant demonstrations of point of view filmmaking…
BLACK–AND–WHITE CINEMA AT ITS PEAK!”

– Andrew Sarris

“YOU WON’T FIND ANYTHING ELSE HALF AS ENTERTAINING”
– Stuart Klawans, The Nation

“Reed captures both [Greene’s] intentions and the child’s panicked isolation in a scene that finds Phillipe fleeing through city streets as steeped in shadow and dread as those in the Noirs of Anthony Mann.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

 “Richardson starts out as an unlikely charmer, doing silent-comedy riffs for the boy’s amusement. Morgan makes seductive melancholy glitter. But Dresdel gives the standout performance as a woman whose bitterness becomes Satanic. The moment when her hairpin drops on Phillip’s pillow is one of the high points of domestic horror.”
– Michael Sragow

Listen

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FALLEN IDOL: Q & A with Robert Henrey

Recorded May 27, 2016
THE FALLEN IDOL