Fallen Idol 1948

director: Carol Reed  


Genre

Country

Great Britain

Cast

Synopsis

This much-acclaimed film won immediate international recognition: the Best Film award from the British Film Academy, a Venice Festival award for the screenplay, and the Best Director award from the New York Film Critics. It was the first film on which Carol Reed and Graham Greene collaborated, and was adapted from Greene's short story The Basement Room. Felipe, the young son of a foreign ambassador, believes that Baines, the embassy butler and the boy's idol, is responsible for his wife's death. The boy first runs away and then lies to the police in a desperate effort to protect his hero, not realising that he is only furthering their suspicions. Ironically, when he finally tells the truth, the police have formulated their own conclusions about the evidence. The adult tragedy - a man's unhappy love affair and its repercussions - is seen through the child's eyes. The low camera angles on Vincent Korda's elaborately designed set emphasize Felipe's bewildered view or the adult world. And Bobby Henrey was perfectly cast in the role of the lonely boy (A London Films executive had spotted his photograph on the jacket or his mother's book A Village in Piccadilly). So often films about children fail - sentimentality cloys and the youngsters just don't convince - but The Fallen Idol (1948 ) is one of the notable exceptions. Carol Reed drew a number of fine performances from his distinguished cast: a flawless interpretation from Ralph Richardson as the unhappily married butler, and excellent acting both from Michele Morgan as the typist he loves, and Sonia Dresdel as the embittered housekeeper who spies on her husband. Indeed it is the combination of a sensitive script (reputedly Greene's favourite) and fine acting which resulted in this delicately balanced film on the lost illusions of childhood becoming one of the understated masterpieces of British cinema. PATRICIA PERILLI

Formats

Available on VHSAvailable on Betamax

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Distributor EMI
Catalogue Number EVH 20040
Release Series
Release Date 1980
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Printed Classification
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