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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fallen Idol (1948)

The young son (Bobby Henrey) of the French ambassador (Gerard Heinz) to England adores the embassy's butler (Ralph Richardson), who takes the time to give the boy attention by regaling him with stories and taking him for walks. But when the butler falls under suspicion of killing his wife (Sonia Dresdel), the boy's attempt to protect him do him more harm than good. Based on the short story THE BASEMENT ROOM by Graham Greene (who also wrote the screenplay), this is one of Carol Reed's best films though it doesn't have the reputation of their collaboration on THE THIRD MAN which is unfortunate. While it works perfectly as a first rate thriller, it also shows us how young children confronted with situations beyond their ken of understanding see things differently and misconstrue the facts. The film also shows how lies, however well intentioned, trap us into a corner that can be deadly. Richardson and the lovely Michele Morgan as the object of his affections are very good but it's young Henrey and Dresdel as the malevolent wife that capture our attention. With Jack Hawkins, Torin Thatcher, Dora Bryan, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen and Karel Stepanek.

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