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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Mask Of Dimitrios (1944)

At a cocktail party, a mystery writer (Peter Lorre) is told by a Turkish police Captain (Kurt Katch) of the mysterious Dimitrios (Zachary Scott) whose murdered body has been found washed ashore on a beach. Intrigued by the policeman's story, the writer decides to investigate the life of Dimitrios with the possibility of turning it into a book. But he soon finds himself embroiled in the dark forces that surrounded the dead man. Based upon the novel by Eric Ambler (TOPKAPI), the film is greatly admired by the noir crowd but I found it only intermittently entertaining. The "twist" late in the film is no surprise at all (I guessed within minutes of the film's beginning) and much of the film is devoted to flashbacks as to what a horrible person Dimitrios was. I got it the first time! Still, how can you go wrong with Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre at the center of things. The director Jean Negulesco provides a suitable ambience that never quite justifies the result but there's nothing wrong with Arthur Edeson's (THE MALTESE FALCON) B&W lensing or Adolph Deutsch's effective underscore. With Faye Emerson, Steven Geray, Victor Francen, Florence Bates, Eduardo Ciannelli and Marjorie Hoshelle.

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