Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. United Kingdom, 1949. London Film Productions. Screenplay by Graham Greene. Cinematography by Robert Krasker. Produced by Carol Reed. Music by Anton Karas. Production Design by Dario Simoni. Costume Design by Ivy Baker. Film Editing by Oswald Hafenrichter. Podcast: My Criterions. Academy Awards 1950. Cannes Film Festival 1949.
Joseph Cotten arrives in Vienna to attend the funeral of a childhood friend who has recently passed away. Investigation into his friend’s life and business reveal that he was mixed up in a black-market scheme gone awry, and that there is a missing suspect out there who might have information as to how he actually died. Orson Welles appears in a marvelous supporting role as a shady figure in this brilliant, exciting British thriller based on the novel by Grahame Greene. Twists and turns abound, plus there’s a fantastic confrontation on a ferris wheel and a climactic chase through the underground tunnels of Vienna. The moody black-and-white photography is gorgeous, and Carol Reed’s direction couldn’t be more impressive. Fans of this film will definitely want to take a look at the little indie film Frogs For Snakes, where actress Lisa Marie gives a reading of Welles’ famous ferris wheel speech.