The Fallen Idol

The Fallen Idol

The Fallen Idol (Director: Carol Reed, UK, 1948): The Fallen Idol was released a few months ago by The Criterion Collection. Having never seen the film, I purchased a copy from

The Fallen Idol was directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene — the same team that created one of my favourite films, The Third Man (1949).

In The Fallen Idol, Baines the butler (Ralph Richardson) is suspected of killing his wife. The only witness to her death is a little boy named Phillipe (Bobby Henrey) with an active imagination.

The film is a good thriller that leaves you guessing right up until the end when everything gets resolved. Innocence, faith and betrayal are a few of the themes that are examined in this suspenseful drama.

Richardson is perfectly cast as “the fallen idol” and the performance by Phillipe is incredible considering he was an untrained actor and dealing with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A documentary on the DVD explains how Reed patiently worked with the child actor to keep him focused and deliver his lines. The resulting performance is brilliant.

There is a night scene where young Phillipe is running through the streets of London that will remind you of Orson Welles running through the streets of Vienna in The Third Man. Rent (or buy) this film if you enjoyed The Third Man.

The audio and video quality of this new, restored version of the film is what you’d expect from The Criterion Collection. Excellent!

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