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CAROL REED'S BELFAST NOIR 'ODD MAN OUT' WITH JAMES MASON

Robert Beatty bribes an urchin for help YEAR: 1947
James Mason is always intense, even when he's playing comedy, and this is no comedy: The most riveting scenes seem initially very standard and, for this seemingly doomed, wounded Irish nationalist leader left for dead, staggering through darkened alleys and hidden rooms, he seems to come across things that, at first, seem much different than they turn out being, making this ODD MAN way, way OUT there while at the same time, the audience struggles within the desperate man's perspective...

So the suspense relies on a fish out of water almost drowning while perhaps the best moments occur in the set-up as we see through what's truly a semi-deranged mind to begin with: having been holed-up indoors, and before that prison, even his own gang don't trust his instincts and capabilities to pull off a relatively otherwise in-and-out office heist, but in fact, Mason's intrepidly lost Johnny McQueen is backed by tough, assertive Robert Beatty; weaselly, gun-toting Cyril Cusack; timid Dan O'Herlihy; and the lovely, soulfully sad yet dedicated and stubborn-tough ingenue Kathleen Ryan...

James Mason in hides in ODD MAN OUT Rating: ***1/2
And since Johnny's perspective begins as a hallucinatory mind-trip, perhaps there needed more of an initial straight road for our anti-hero in order for the moments of askew perception to mean more to the bleak, post-war canvas, filmed beautifully by future THE THIRD MAN director Carol Reed...

And the first act of this ODD thriller is by far the best. After which, it's a bit too dizzying, random, and all over the place. Especially during the third act that, for the most part, lacks the title character, shown only now and again, hiding in the snow or freezing indoors, and centers on two crazy old beggars, fighting over the money to rat him out, both more befitting a dark comedy. Basically, for better or worse, ODD MAN OUT is character-driven — beginning with far more interesting characters than it winds up with.
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice... No Jitterbugging! Carol Reed's ODD MAN OUT w/ James Mason
The beautiful Kathleen Ryan and a shadow of a crucifix in ODD MAN OUT
Robert Beatty (resembles Tom Courtenay but before Tom) in ODD MAN OUT
James Mason as Johnny in Carol Reed's ODD MAN OUT
Kathleen Ryan serves James Mason and Dan O'Herlihy in ODD MAN OUT

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